I listened in stupefied astonishment the declaration of a strike action by the teacher unions. I must reiterate the point that I have always been with the teachers when it comes to issues regarding their salaries and arrears. On this score, I hold a different view.
The declared strike exudes unfairness in a lot of ways. There are close to 300,000 workers under Ghana Education Service. Between 2012 and 2016, the John Mahama administration owed 120,000 teachers in arrears.
The Akufo-Addo administration has settled the arrears of 85,000, meaning only 35,000 teachers are yet to receive their arrears. It must also be emphasized that since 2017, all workers employed under GES have been paid. None is owed any form of arrears.
Then the teacher unions meet to declare a strike action for the 35,000 as well as the 265,000 who have no arrears to be settled!
In effect, because of the 35,000 who are owed arrears, all the 300,000 teachers must stop working starting from Monday!
In my engagements with many colleagues of mine in the teaching field, they have resolved not to honor this declared strike. They say that they will ignore the directive like a plague. It makes little sense to them to embark on a strike action when they are not owed by the government.
Some of the teachers hold the view, I don’t know how true it is though, that the leadership of these unions are serving their own parochial interests. They believe the strike action is Christmas package-induced.
According to them, the leadership of the teacher unions know that Government will sit down with them on the matter and something definitely will be given as transportation and hampers for the holidays. They cannot fathom why they would declare a strike at the end of the term but not the beginning or middle of it.
Why must the seeming predicament of 35,000 be used to ask all 300,000 teachers to sit at home when the 265,000 out of the number are not owed by the Government?
There are concerns, no doubt, but to use this to declare a strike not for the affected teachers but for all and sundry is the height of unfairness and injustice on the part of the leadership of the teacher unions.
P.K.Sarpong, Whispers from the Corridors of the Thinking Place.