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CETAG strike illegal, says Fair Wages

CETAG declared an indefinite strike on Friday (14 June) over the government’s delay in implementing the NLC Arbitral Award Orders and negotiated service conditions

The Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) has described the indefinite strike by the Colleges of Education Teachers Association of Ghana (CETAG) as illegal.

The Commission said CETAG was in breach of the agreement signed with the government on 22 May 2023, where both parties agreed to resort to the National Labour Commission (NLC) to address any disagreement.

The Commission, therefore, entreated CETAG members to immediately call off the strike and return to the negotiating table.

CETAG on Friday, (14 June 2024), declared an indefinite strike over the government’s delay in implementing the NLC Arbitral Award Orders and negotiated service conditions.

The strike is aimed at pushing the government to meet CETAG’s demands, including the payment of one month’s salary to each member for additional duties performed in 2022 and the application of agreed rates of allowances payable to public universities to deserving CETAG members.

Benjamin Arthur, the chief executive officer, FWSC, addressing a press conference in Accra, was unhappy CETAG failed to honour an invitation for a stakeholder meeting to address the issues.

“In order to continue discussions towards full implementation of the arbitral awards, the FWSC, in a letter dated 13 June 2024, invited the leadership of CETAG to a meeting on 14 June 2024, only to see a notice of strike declared with immediate effect in the media,” he stated.

Responding to the payment of a one-month salary to each member of CETAG, he said the Conference of Principals of Colleges of Education (PRINCOF) had compiled a list of tutors who performed additional duty in 2022 and forwarded it to the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC) for action.

He said GTEC had forwarded the data to FWSC and the Ministry of Finance on 13 June, 2024, for payment, adding that CETAG members were made aware of the development.

On the agreed rates of allowances payable to public university grade structure, Arthur said that could only be applied to deserving members of CETAG after they had been successfully migrated to the public university grade structure.

That, he stressed, would be subjected to meeting all the minimum requirements as applicable in public universities.

Responding to the order that the implementation of the staff audit exercise should commence on 1 January 2023, he said the process would be carried out once the migration was completed and deserving staff were placed on universities’ grade structure.

Arthur said GTEC had written to the Ministry of Finance to pay a top-up research allowance to CETAG members to address issues of allowance arrears from the Association’s 2023 condition of service agreement with FWSC.

He said per the scheme of service of the colleges of education, chief tutors and principal tutors qualified for office holding positions and were eligible to be paid office holding allowances.

In situations where there were no qualified officers to hold the positions, he said Tutors and Senior Tutors were nominated to act in the positions and could only be paid acting allowances since they were not qualified to hold such positions.

The CEO of FWSC said all members who had submitted evidence of their salaries being frozen in August 2023 had been paid.

Professor Samuel Atintono, president of PRINCOF, expressed surprise about CETAG’s strike after meeting with them last week to discuss the road map concerning their migration to universities’ grade structure.

Prof Atintono appealed to CETAG to exercise patience and call off the strike because negotiations had far advanced.

He said the strike could destabilise academic calendar because students resumed last week.

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