Cornelius Yawson (L) stresses a point while Christian Addai Poku listens attentively
The National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) is insisting the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission adopts a “radical approach” in resolving all their outstanding allowances including market premium, restoration of annual credits and car maintenance.
The NAGRAT has given the Commission up to January 25 to address its concerns or brace itself for a massive nationwide strike.
President of NAGRAT Christian Addai Poku told Joy FM’s Top Story with Francis Abban on Thursday that after three years of waiting to get the allowances fixed, it members are “fed up” with government’s feed dragging.
He cited the market premium, which he said other sectors are paid as high as 90%, which he said exposes the pay equity principle underlining the new pay policy.
“When our members see this they get angry” he pointed out. But the claim has been denied by the Wages Commission.
Mr Addai Poku said: “What is significant is that before the single spine, we were slightly ahead of some people in terms of basic salary, but then those people were making up for the differences with allowances. Now there has been equity in terms of basic salary but those people continue to enjoy those allowances, which they used to enjoy before the single spine…if you look at it clearly, it is teachers who are disadvantaged.”
He also lamented that the incremental credit, a pay a teacher enjoys after being employed after a year of service, has been taken away from them.
According Mr Addai Poku, the Single Spine Salary Structure they thought was going to be their messiah had rather worsen their plight.
“We have seen that for the past three years since the implementation of the single spine, it has helped to widen the gap that existed between the various job classifications… Instead of single spine coming to enhance the conditions of service of teacher, it has rather deepened the gaping gap between the teachers and other public sector workers”
He accused the Commission of undue delay, and warned against excessive pressure on NAGRAT to teach because of the students’ welfare. He remarked: “The most dangerous thing is a demoralized teacher. If you let a teacher teach when he is demotivated it is more dangerous.”
But Head of Grievance and Negotiations at the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission, Cornelius Yawson, on the same programme, indicated that NAGRAT has failed to utilize the various avenues available to inform themselves about processes and progress made to solve their concerns.
He therefore accused the NAGRAT of "confusing and misinforming" the public, and expressed surprise about the stance taken by the group.
He therefore advised NAGRAT to apprise themselves with the issues and adopt a “cooperative and collaborative” posture instead of the “confrontational” method, including press conferences, to outline their concerns.
“Be part of the process and don’t stand somewhere and give the impression that nobody is working et cetera. It doesn’t help us, in fact it doesn’t help the industrial climate, it doesn’t help the investor climate.”
He noted that the Commission is almost hitting 100 percent mark of migrating all public sector workers onto the Single Spine Salary Structure.