The Ashanti Regional branch of the Teachers and Education Workers Union of the Ghana Trade Union Congress is beginning an indefinite strike action today (Monday) to pour out their frustrations about the long silence of government, the Labour Commission and the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission on the major disparities in the salaries of its members since they were migrated on the Single Spine Salary Structure last year.
The regional branch president of TEWU, Seth Quansah, hinted the New Statesman in Kumasi at the weekend that no non-teaching staff members of the Union, including librarians, matrons, electricians, labourers, administrative staffs among others will be at post from today till the government and the commissions meet their needs.
He maintained that the government does not recognise their importance in the delivery of education in the country, which he said is evident in the migration of their members on the SSSS.
According to Mr Quansah, as soon as they were put on the SSSS last year, members started recording low levels in their salaries and later when agitated, the government and the two commissions admitted the anomalies and promised to correct them.
The president further explained that despite the decision by the Commissions to give a 15 percent retention premium to the Union, only the mainstream teachers were paid, leaving the non-teaching staff members of the Union out.
“TEWU again wrote to the commission of the existing anomalies and to our dismay, only eleven out of the 22 categories which formed the TEWU received the 15 % retention premium and these 11 categories are basically classroom teachers” , he lamented.
According to Seth Quansah, they then raised another concern that they were also part of teachers and as such are subject to pay rise under the pay policy, “but as at May last year till now, the government has remained silent on the matter and we think this is the only channel left after exhausting all channels and this is to lay down our tools starting this Monday.”
He said since the current government only understands the language of strike action, “we can no longer swallow this unfair treatment or remain victims of government discrimination against workers and hence our resolve to lay down our tools”.
He explained that embarking on such actions means there would be no matron and cooking staffs to cook for the students, no electrician to fix electrical faults in the school, there will also be no librarians on campus and no administration staffs as well to manage the school.
Mr Seth Quansah added : “when all these people put down their tools, what it means is that schools in this country must be closed down indefinitely which will affect the calendar of the Ghana Education Service and the Education Ministry.”