The Chairman of the Ghana Education Service (GES) Council, Michael Nsowah has called the bluff of the striking teachers insisting the government would replace them with fresh teachers searching for jobs.
Without mincing words, the former National Coordinator of the Ghana National School Feeding Programme said should the teachers continue their industrial action, the state will be forced to employ new teachers.
He said inasmuch as government will not dispute the rights of the teachers to protest, it will also not look on as such actions affect the academic work of students.
“We are still monitoring the situation and if they still continue with their strike action, we will then be forced to recruit new teachers,” Mr Nsowah said.
Mr. Nsowah’s comments follow a national strike action by teachers over government’s failure to pay salary arrears owed them.
School children across the country have reported for classes but their teachers will not teach them.
In some schools, National Service and NABCo personnel have taken over the duties of these striking teachers.
But speaking on Adom FM’s morning show Dwaso Nsem yesterday, the former Acting Director-General of the GES indicated that there are people with very good certificates who are looking for teaching jobs and government wouldn’t hesitate to employ them to teach.
Three teacher unions, Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT) on December 5, 2019 warned the GES of a possible strike action if the state failed to pay salary arrears owed its members.
Government failed to take the threat seriously, forcing the teachers to carry out the threat by staying out of the class effective Monday December 9, 2019.
However, Mr Nsowah insists that as of September 2019, the GES had effected payments of full salary arrears to about 87,556 teachers, representing 95 per cent of the affected teachers.
A comment by Mr. Nsowah, to the effect that government was paying what has become known as ‘legacy arrears’ to teachers “out of pity”, ruffled the feathers of the President of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Philipa Larsen.
Disappointed Ms Larsen served notice that the strike will know no end if the Council Chair and for that matter government proceeded on that tangent.
On why the teachers have chosen strike as an option, Ms Philippa said their checks reveal the arrears had been verified and approved for payment by the Controller and Accountant General’s Internal Audit Unit with the verified data handed to GES for review and action.
She, however, said the GES wouldn’t budge because it claims some discrepancies had been discovered with regard to the payment.
“The ‘Legacy Arrears’ she explained, span between 2012 and 2016, wondering why the GES was dragging its feet in the payments in spite of the verifications and approval for payment by the Controller and Accountant General’s Internal Audit Unit.
She said strike action will continue until payments hit members’ accounts.