Regional News of 2014-02-01

Labour Commission says CETAG's strike is illegal

The National Labour Commission (NLC) has described the strike by the Colleges of Education Teachers’ Association of Ghana (CETAG) as premature, procedurally wrong and illegal under the law.

The Commission has therefore directed CETAG to immediately call off the strike and appraise itself properly with the provisions in the Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651) which address the process of unionization and the dispute settlement procedures.

A statement signed by Dr Bernice A. Welbeck, acting Executive Secretary of the Commission and copied to the Ghana News Agency on Thursday said the Commission gave the directives after meeting representatives of CETAG, the Ministry of Education and the Tertiary Council of Ghana in Accra on Wednesday January 22.

The meeting was to resolve the strike embarked on by CETAG.

Dr Welbeck said, “having heard the parties, the Commission observed that the MoE is working at ensuring that CETAG’s concerns are addressed in line with the harmonized statutes, condition of service and scheme of service developed for the Colleges of Education”.

The Commission, therefore, directed MoE to expedite the process to have the concerns and issues affecting CETAG addressed as soon as possible. It as well urged CETAG to avail itself of the opportunity given the association to be involved in the stakeholder discussions going on at the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission.

The Commission also directed the MoE to provide CETAG with copies of all the relevant documents that will facilitate their participation in the discussions at the FWSC in an informed manner.

CETAG on Monday January 20, embarked on an industrial action against poor conditions of service.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Mr. Samuel Douglas Quansah, Eastern and Greater Accra Region Zonal Secretary and Local Chairman of CETAG-ATRACO, said members’ conditions of service had not been reviewed despite several pleas to the Ministry of Education.

He said since November last year, CETAG had expressed its dissatisfaction at the seemingly slow pace at which the National Council for Tertiary Education and the Ghana Education Service Council had been working to finalize their Draft Harmonized Schemes of Service, Statues and Conditions of the Colleges.

Mr. Quansah said CETAG members did tertiary work from 2004 to 2012 before having the Colleges of Education Act 847 passed into law, and still they were not being remunerated accordingly.

He, however, said CETAG proposed two things for the Ministry to adopt one. The Ministry is either to; “Sign a Memorandum of Understanding with CETAG, committing ourselves to the agreement that salary schemes, allowances and all other fringe benefits that will be determined eventually shall take a retrospective effect from 2012.

“Or give CETAG members 70 per cent of our gross salaries as an interim measure to cushion us for having done tertiary work since 2004 without due remuneration, pending the final determination of our salary schemes, allowances and all other fringe benefits.”

He said the association did not receive any reply from the Ministry of Education and that they had to write a reminder to the Minister on December 20, 2013 which also yielded no reply.

Mr. Quansah said: “Having shown respect to the labour laws of the land, CETAG and the National Executive Committee (NEC), hereby, directs all members to suspend our participation in teaching, invigilation and marking; supervision of teaching practice and project work in all colleges until you hear otherwise from the NEC.”