CHILD RIGHT SUES TEACHER UNIONS OVER STRIKE.
A civil society organisation, Child’s Rights International (CRI), has dragged three teacher unions to the Supreme Court (SC) over strike action.
CRI is making a case that the strike by the three unions is unconstitutional and a violation of the rights of students to education as enshrined in Articles 25 and 28 of the 1992 Constitution.
The suit, filed last Friday, is against the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) , the Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT) and the Attorney -General (A-G).
CRI is of the contention that the strike which the teacher unions embarked upon to drum home their displeasure about the appointment of a new Director -General of the Ghana Education Service (GES) had no justification in law, is unconstitutional and collective punishment against students.
The plaintiff is asking the SC to declare that the strike by the three unions is unconstitutional as it violates the rights of pre-tertiary students to education which is guaranteed by Articles 25(1)(a) and b; 28(4); and 33(5).
CRI is further asking the apex court to declare as unconstitutional the withdrawal of services by the three unions following the strike for being inconsistent with Article 23 of the 1992 Constitution which protects the fundamental human rights of the students to administrative fairness.
The plaintiff also wants the Supreme Court to order the three unions to call off the strike and perpetually restrain them from the “unlawful and unconstitutional strike.”
On October 19, this year, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, appointed Dr Eric Nkansah as the new Director-General of GES.
The appointment was met with disapproval on the educational front, especially by the GNAT, NAGRAT and CCT, on the basis that Dr Nkansah was not an educationist and therefore his appointment was against the convention on the appointments of Director-General of GES since 1974.
The three unions issued an ultimatum to the government to rescind Dr Nkansah’s appointment by November 4.
After the expiration of the ultimatum, the three unions declared a nationwide strike.
In its statement of case, CRI avers that the reason for the strike by the three unions has no basis in the law.
According to CRI, embarking on strike due to displeasure with the appointment of Director-General of GES is not a justifiable ground.
It added that even though the three teacher unions have a right under the constitution to embark on any action , including strikes, to protect the interests of their members, the current strike was not justified.
In view of that, the plaintiff argues that the constitutional rights of the three teacher unions to embark on strike is not absolute, especially when it is based on an unjustifiable ground and also violates the rights of students to education
According to the plaintiff, the strike is rather an unconstitutional act, which has deprived students in pre-tertiary government schools of the fundamental human right to education as stipulated in the 1992 Constitution.
Meanwhile the three teacher unions on Friday called off their strike, after the National Labour Commission (NLC) secured a restraining order from the court against them.
OUTSTANDING ISSUES RAISED BY THE TEACHER UNIONS
It must be noted that, these eleven (11) issues below have all been brought before Labour Commission on which Labour Commission had directed that, the management of Ghana Education Service (GES) and the Teacher Unions sit to address them.
1. Refund of GHC44.55 to Teachers arising out of the one-teacher one- laptop
2. Payment of Continuous Professional Development (CPD) allowance to Teachers
3. Progression to the Grades Director II & I arising out of scheme of service
4. Delayed payment of allowance to teachers in areas designated as deprived
5. Delay in developing scheme of service for STAFF OF Ghana Education Service (GES) since the adoption of the Public Service Manual and Policy Framework in 2015
6. Delay in Lower ranks promotion since 2015
7. Some teachers who were promoted/upgraded since 2015 have not been placed on the right scale.
8. Reversal of the SHS Semester system to Trimester
9. Delay in the payment of Responsibility allowance since 2018
10. Delay in the payment of car maintenance allowance since 2018
11. Review of the Collective Agreement
We want to inform the Labour Commission that the Mininstry of Education and Ghana Education Service have not only renerged on their responsibilities but also failed to show their commitment in addressing them.
We hereby bring them again to your notice for further directions to ensure industrial peace and harmony.
ISSUED ON 14TH NOVEMBER, 2022 BY THOMAS T. MUSAH, GENERAL SECRETARY, GNAT, ERIC AGBE-CARBONU, PRESIDENT, NAGRAT, KING ALI AWUDU, PRESIDENT, CCT-GH
Source; The Ghanaian Times