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Government meets striking teachers over COLA demands

The government is meeting with teacher unions to continue with negotiations over the demand for the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA)

The Ministry for Employment and Labour Relations is expected to hold a second meeting with teacher unions over their demand for a 20% Cost of Living Allowance (COLA).

The meeting will be held specifically to negotiate the demands of the unions.

This follows an appeal by President Akufo-Addo for the teachers to return to the classrooms and continue engagement with the government.

However, the teachers say they will not return to work until their demand is met.

Meanwhile, students of the Walewale Senior High Technical School in the West Mamprusi Municipality of the North East Region have been compelled to prepare their own food on campus after the caterers left post as the teachers’ strike bites hard.

Some of the students who spoke to Asaase News said they now spend more time cooking than doing academic activities.

Last week, Benjamin Arthur, the chief executive officer of the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission(FWSC), called on the striking teacher union to call off their strike to pave the way for proper engagement.

Four teacher unions in the country on Monday (4 July) began an indefinite strike over their cost of living allowance (COLA).

They are the Ghana National Association of Teachers, National Association of Graduate Teachers, Coalition of Concerned Teachers, Ghana and the Teachers and Educational Workers Union.

They said the government failed to meet their 30 June deadline to pay their members the cost of living allowance.

Speaking with Benjamin Offei-Addo on the Asaase Breakfast Show Wednesday ( 6 July), Arthur said, “It will not take a strike to get all these resolved. Dialogue is the way forward.”

“And I am appealing to them; they should call off the strike for us to engage. I am confident that all concerns will come to the table for redress,” he said.

He added, “Organised Labour has the right to demand what they believe is due them. The employer also has his right just as in normal industrial relations but we should not lose sight of the fact that we cannot cease to engage.

“It’s dialogue and my appeal to Organised Labour is that they should have faith in the government and continue to engage.”

Don’t shut schools

The Ghana Education Service (GES) has directed all heads of senior high schools to keep schools open despite a strike by four teacher unions in the country.

In a statement, the GES said it had invited the striking teacher unions to discuss the labour dispute and the way forward.

“Heads of senior high schools have been directed through the regional and district directors to mobilise their management teams to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all students in schools,” the GES statement said.

“Meanwhile, parents are advised to remain calm and be assured that management is closely monitoring the situation and will advise on the way forward accordingly,” it added.

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