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NAGRAT Strike: Blacklegs will be chased from Classrooms – Leaders warn

The National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) has served a very strong warning that members found working in the course of the ongoing strike action declared Thursday would be chased out of the classrooms.

NAGRAT executives in the Upper East region issued the warning Friday at a news conference convened in the regional capital, Bolgatanga, to announce members of the association in the region had joined the boycott action declared by the national executives in the national capital, Accra, on Thursday.

“Yesterday, our national [executives] declared the strike and we are having ours today. We are going to give support, we are going to reinforce [and] we are going to intensify the strike action in this part of the country.

“After this declaration in support of the national, we the regional officers and the zonal officers will do monitoring and any teacher that is found in the classroom, we’ll chase that teacher out. If we all have said that we are declaring a strike, they must go with it. What is due us, we have to fight for it!” affirmed the NAGRAT’s Upper East Regional Chairman, Samuel Atompoya, at the conference.

The aggrieved teachers’ fraternity took industrial action over what they describe as protracted delay in giving out promotion letters to some teachers who were promoted some years ago. Mr. Atompoya echoed on Friday the reasons articulated on Thursday by the NAGRAT’s President, Eric Angel Carbonu, as to what led to the job action.

Some NAGRAT members at the Friday’s news conference

“Today, teachers who have been promoted as far back as three years ago have not been given their promotion letters indicating the effective date of their promotions. This will affect their chance of progressing in the GES.

“Teachers who have additional responsibilities besides their teaching duties have not had their responsibility allowances restored after they were promoted. Some teachers have suffered this problem for the past three years. Some teachers who have completed their study leave with or without pay have had difficulty being reinstated into the Ghana Education Service (GES) and even when they are reinstated, they are still being paid their pre-study leave salaries,” Mr. Atompoya reiterated.

We downed our tools as Government wasn’t ready to meet us— NAGRAT

Among the concerns that prompted the ongoing strike action also is alleged delay in inviting teachers, who are due for upgrade after serving on their current ranks for a required four-year period, for promotion interview.

The number of affected teachers who have been glued to the same ranks for more than half a decade is so colossal NAGRAT says there is “a huge backlog” of teachers waiting for just a call for the promotion due them.

“It is a nightmare to be transferred or to seek transfer in the GES these days. The GES is unable to effect genuine transfer requests due to impediments placed in its path by the HRMIS (Human Resource Management Information System) of the Public Service Commission. This has brought untold pressure and hardship on teachers in the service. We call on the Public Service Commission to remove the obstacles it has placed on the path of the Ghana Education Service. It looks like the government has suspended its obligation of paying salary arrears. Yet, day in day out, new arrears are being created.

“The promotion issues and salary upgrade problems mentioned earlier have created another batch of salary arrears. Teachers who, for one reason or the other, have had their salaries stopped will have to live without being paid for months despite the fact that they report regularly to duty. It is clear that the HRMIS being operated by the Public Service Commission is incompatible with the scheme of service of the GES. The teacher unions, since the inception of the HRMIS, have complained about the system to no avail,” Mr. Atompoya added.

Fielding questions from the media, the NAGRAT members in the region said they resorted to downing their tools because government chose to ignore them when their concerns were raised in July, this year, at a news conference.

“The Ghanaian public knows that these are issues that are facing us. But government is not ready to meet us. We have to lay down our tools for them to know that we are serious,” the association’s Regional Chairman stated.

By Edward Adeti

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