ATAG unhappy with teachers’ acceptance of 15% COLA other than salary increment

ATAG unhappy with teachers’ acceptance of 15% COLA other than salary increment
ATAG unhappy with teachers’ acceptance of 15% COLA other than salary increment.

The All Teachers Alliance Ghana (ATAG) says teacher unions should have rather pushed for a 15% salary increment instead of the 15% Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) they agreed with government.

The union says such a move would have permanently improved the conditions of service of teachers.

Speaking to Citi News, the National President of the union, Isaac Ofori, says the government might use the payment of the 15% COLA as a bait not to meet other necessary demands of teachers.

“What is the guarantee that after government takes all the workers off the COLA, it is going to specifically maintain teachers on it? If teachers agree on five or seven percent salary increment, it means that, we have lost the negotiations.”

Already, the government has served notice that the 15 percent Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) for members of organized labour would be suspended when the conditions that necessitated it are no more.

The various worker unions declared an indefinite strike in demand for a 20 percent cost of living allowance to cushion them against the current economic hardship.

However, the government reached a consensus with them for the payment of 15 percent of the allowance effective July 1, 2022.

“Teachers are one of the greatest tools used to demand the rights of workers in this country. So if we are activating the strike, we should do so on the back of something that is exclusive to us. Matters have now been generalized, and our concerns have been limited to organized labour”, Isaac Ofori lamented.

Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Bright Wereko Brobby spoke on the possibility of the non-payment of the allowance in the future.

“We have agreed that the Cost of Living Allowance will be paid effective 1st July. As the name applies, it is an allowance which is a result of certain factors that have arisen in the course of the year so as and when these factors are no longer there, there will not be the relevance to still continue with it.”

Government and organised labour have agreed on a 15 percent cost of living allowance for members of organised labour.

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The various worker unions, including the four teacher unions, the Ghana Medical Association, and the Public Sector Workers Union, among others, demanded the payment of 20 percent of their basic salaries as Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) due to the current economic situation in the country.

Negotiations dragged on for over two weeks, compelling CCT, GNAT, NAGRAT, and TEWU to embark on industrial action to insist on their demands.

But after a crunch meeting on July 14, 2022, both parties came to a conclusion on a 15% COLA, which will take retrospective effect from July 1, 2022.

The Employment and Labour Relations Minister, Ignatius Baffour Awuah, reading out the terms of the agreement, said “We agreed with the labour unions that the COLA will be paid at the rate of 15% of base pay, that the effective date for the payment of the COLA will be 1st July 2022.”

“We also agreed that all industrial actions underway and threats of same will be called off immediately and that labour will return to work.”

—citinewsroom