Members of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) have served notice that they will lay down their tools if the government does not pay all outstanding arrears due its members by the end of February.
The arrears comprise the salaries of newly recruited teachers from 2013 to date, teachers who had been promoted and others who were reinstated or re-engaged.
The other arrears in reference are vehicle maintenance allowance, transfer grants and travel and transport allowances.
The President of NAGRAT, Mr Christian Addai-Poku, told media representatives in Accra on Thursday that: “Therefore, let it be emphasised that all arrears due teachers must be paid by the end of February 2016. This time no road map will be accepted. No technical committee will be set up. No pleas will be heeded and no ruling of the National Labour Commission (NLC) will be obeyed. All we want is the payment of all arrears.”
He said the situation was so frustrating and disquieting that it had left teachers with no option but to issue an ultimatum. He added: “What we need is the payment of all the outstanding arrears by February 29, 2016 or we will lay down our tools until payments are made.”
The decision of NAGRAT to declare a strike could bring teaching and learning in pre-tertiary institutions— basic and second cycle schools—to a halt, following the move by the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT) to also strike over unresolved arrears.
With reference to the NLC, Mr Addai-Poku said NAGRAT was tired of what he described as the repetitive directives by the NLC which were pathetically and contemptuously ignored by the government.
He said the teachers’ issue had brought into question the capacity of the NLC to apply the rod of justice when the government was the offender.
Mr Addai-Poku also said the teachers were tired of drawing up road maps for the payment of arrears, claiming that the failure of the government to pay the more than 30,000 affected teachers their arrears had resulted in the death of some because they could not pay for medical care, while others had been prosecuted because they could not repay loans taken in anticipation of the payment of the arrears.
He added that others had quit the service out of frustration.
The NAGRAT president called on all members of the associations to brace themselves for the fight ahead, since the time to show solidarity was now.