We issue this statement to express strong solidarity with the labour action declared on 4 July 2022 by the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), the Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU) and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers Ghana (CCT) in connection with their demand for teachers to be paid a cost of living allowance that takes into account the worsening living conditions in the country.
As we are all aware, the basic conditions of teachers serving in our public schools are historically abysmal and as such continue to place teachers at the mercy of predatory lenders and at the risk of unsustainable personal debt.
We note that in the past few months, the already abysmal wage and other working conditions of teachers have been exacerbated by demonstrated worsening of inflation, depreciation of our currency and high food prices.
These developments have combined to further entrench the social and economic vulnerability of teachers.
We believe that workers everywhere deserve to live and work in dignity; and that they are entitled to safe working conditions, livable wages and proper benefits.
In this regard, we are concerned that the failure to procure suitable working conditions for teachers violates their right to live and work in dignity.
We are aware that strikes are usually the last resort used by workers to fight for better conditions of work. As such, we are confident that the decision to strike was not taken easily and that the teacher unions carefully weighed their options and understood the significance of their strike action.
In this regard, we encourage parents and students to stand in solidarity with teachers whose welfare/wellbeing is essential to doing their work very well.
We call on all labour unions, civil society organizations, social movements and the general citizenry to support teachers’ demand for the payment of their COLA.
We also call on the media to centre discussions on the grievances of the teachers on the systemic and historical causes of the strike action as well as the government’s failure to ensure that teachers are treated fairly.
For the above reasons, we demand that the Government immediately put in place measures to ensure that teachers can live and work with dignity.
It is only by paying teachers living wages that allow them to live in dignity, that our country can properly honour its obligations of respect, support, and value to teachers as well as recognize their invaluable contributions to this country.