NAGRAT Agrees To Strike In January
Members of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) have collectively resolved to embark on strike in January 2011, if they are not placed on the single spine pay structure by the end of December. The NAGRAT members expressed worry about the slow implementation of the new pay policy and said they have fears a December deadline will not materialise. The teachers, and their counterparts in the polytechnics, have only recently returned from a bitter strike that crippled largely, tertiary education nationwide over the same issues. According to the guideline of the new pay policy, teachers were supposed to be placed on the single spine pay structure by December but according to the anxious teachers, the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission has still not completed with the necessary steps to pave way for the placement of the teachers. Confirming their decision to Citi News on Wednesday December 1, the Vice President of NAGRAT, Angel Kabonu said it appears Government wants to take them for granted. “How will you feel that after University, you join the Ghana Education Service and teach for about five years, and the single spine salary structure puts you at a level commensurate with that of a student that you taught who has joined another service and is earning more than you” he asked. He said when school reopens in January 2011; no teacher should be expected in the classroom. “A promise was made to teachers in this country that come December 2010, they will be migrated onto the single spine salary structure but what we are hearing is contrary. So we are asking the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission to make sure that they make good their promise by putting teachers on the single spine in December and also place those teachers properly. We have taken all service classifications and have compared where they have placed the various categories of workers and when it comes to teachers, the entry point of the professional teacher is the lowest among all the service classifications and we think that this is absolutely unfair to u” he said. Meanwhile, the CEO of the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC), George Smith Graham has said his outfit will not be moved by threats from NAGRAT, adding that his outfit is dealing primarily with GES and not the group, in the migration of teachers onto the Single Spine Salary System (SSSS). Mr. Graham said the FWSC had a mandate to ensure that all public sector workers were migrated onto the SSSS and therefore, cannot just meet NAGRAT’s demands to the detriment of the process. George Graham explained that the reason for the delay in migrating teachers onto the SSSS was because the FWSC was furnished with some of the relevant data of teachers a few weeks ago and are still waiting for the complete data. This he said made the situation of migrating them onto the scheme by November 2010 impossible, since the data has to go through a number of processes before they can be registered. Touching on the principal superintendent’s level, an issue raised by NAGRAT, he said it was not true that the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission was responsible for placing the principal superintendent on level 14, but rather it placement was as a result of the job evaluation that was done. George Graham said that GES stated that they wanted an analogous position of ensuring that workers within the same bracket receive the same remuneration contained in the SSSS. He said his outfit had no problem with that, but added that the job evaluation conducted rather pointed to the opposite, citing that the reason was due to the decision taken whereby, individuals are grouped together according to the job being done and not just the certificate in question. According to the FWSC chief, a re-evaluation was conducted to address the problems encountered in the first evaluation and GES brought representatives to facilitate the process. He said after the re-evaluation, GES kicked against the inclusion of their own chosen representatives because according to them, they were not competent enough. He said he has asked them to return to the negotiating table but this has gone unheeded by GES.