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Ghana: Teachers and Educational Workers Begin Indefinite Strike

Salary arrears and the lack of progress in negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement have driven EI affiliate the Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU) to strike indefinitely. 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 Labour 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 said: "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 So as of now negotiations have stalled and our people have withdrawn our labour." Antwi 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 Labour Commission instructing the two parties to solve the problem by the end of next week. If the government and Ghana’s Educational Services refuse their proposals the union will continue with its strike action. Antwi continues, "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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