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Ghana's Teachers and Educational Workers Union Strikes Indefinitely

In Ghana, the Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU), which is part of Ghana’s Trades Union Congress, says it will strike indefinitely, demanding better conditions of service. An ultimatum presented to President John Kufuor’s government says if demands are not met by next week, teachers in higher institutions will join in the strike. The union issued a press release blaming what it called the dysfunctional performance of the Ghana Education Service and the National Labor Commission for the strikes and the overall unrest in the education sector. The general secretary of the Teachers and Educational Workers Union, Dan Ayim Antwi, spoke with Voice of America English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey.

“Our members in the Ghana Education Service have a collective bargaining agreement between the management of the Ghana Education Service and union. This expired in the year 2001; we submitted proposals for the review. Since we submitted our proposals there have been only five meetings; thus, during the last five years, to negotiate our proposals, management also submitted some counter proposals. These negotiations have dragged on for five years; members are now sick and tired of having to wait for the agreement to be reviewed. So as of now negotiations have stalled and our people have withdrawn our labor.”

Ayim explained some of the union’s demands. “Interestingly, while we submitted 18 areas for negotiations, management countered with 52, altogether making 70 proposals. Out of the 70 proposals we have dealt with 66 so we are not left with four these are: salary review, responsibility allowance, risk allowance and end of service benefit.”

Ayim said that he has a meeting with the minister of education that will address amicable solutions to the current stalemate. He also said he received a letter from the Ghana Labor Commission instructing the two parties to solve the problem by the end of next week.

The general secretary said if the government and Ghana’s Educational Services refuse their proposals they will continue with their “industrial action.” He continued to say, “Already our members in the polytechnics are also on strike over a similar issue. And in the universities, our members there have also threatened and given an ultimatum to their management that salary arrears that have been pending since January by the sixteenth of June they are also going to resort to industrial action.”

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