By Albert Dadson Amoah
Many teachers in Ghana, out of lack of time or whatever reason, could not find ample time to read through the *bargaining agreement* that bind them and their employer.
The _Teacher Bargaining Agreement_ was signed between *GNAT* (Representing teachers because of numbers) and *GES Council* (Employer – Representing the State).
The purpose of the Council and GNAT entering into this agreement was:
(1) To set forth their agreement on *salaries, wages, hours of work* and other *conditions* and *rules* of employment.
(2) To promote the *growth* and *development of co-operation*, *trust*, *respect* and *fairness* and endeavour to uphold these virtues in their policies and standards of management.
The following are extracts of the agreements met in the bargaining and observations:
_(1) The employer shall arrange for a medical examination at any public hospital to ascertain the medical fitness of an employee on assumption of duty._
No teacher is subjected to medical examination after employment.
_(2) Employees who work outside the normal working hours shall be *paid 20%* of the employees gross monthly as monthly allowance._
Many teachers across the country engage in *active* extra curricular activities without any said allowances. _Responsibility allowances_ is only *7.14%* instead of *20%* as stated in the agreement.
_(3)Technical/Vocational, Science and Home Economic teachers shall be paid Clothing Allowance of five percent *(5%)* of their annual gross salary to defray cost of purchasing protective clothing._
Do you know any home economics or technical teachers who has confirmed this? Teachers truly have been taken for granted.
_(4) The employer shall pay a monthly *allowance of 25%* on employees gross monthly salary to teachers who accept posting/transfer to areas designated as difficult by parties to this agreement._
There are many difficult teaching terrains across the country and teachers don’t receive any 25% additional remuneration though it has clearly been stated in the agreement.
_(5) The Service shall be responsible for free medical and dental facilities of employees, their spouses and not more than four (4) children under the age of 18 in accordance with procedures to be determined by parties to this agreement._
Juicy but pathetic. How many teachers over the years have even heard that such facilities exist for them let alone enjoying them.
It will interest you to know that *the bargaining power holder union* should have by now been busy ensuring that these agreements and many more are adhered to strictly by our Employer (GES).
But what do we see, the laxity and careless attitude of our negotiator have brought miles of dissapointment to many teachers. The most important things that concern teachers have been neglected with impunity.
_Ask yourself as teacher this simple question?_
*Why are teachers being taken for granted by both government and GES?*
The answer is simple.
_Many teachers are simply afraid of loosing their job and therefore succumb to any kind of treatment meted out to them._
When a group of teachers rises up to change the *status quo*, we quickly jump into criticizing them and end up holding on to something that continues to disappoint us again and again.
We must be worried as teachers in the face of these startling revelations and why the government and our employer have succeeded in branding us as *second rated professionals* without dignity in the society.
Who will fight the course of freedom and ensure that the status quo changes for us to recapture our dignity in the society?
Young teachers in particular must advice ourselves because the future of our profession still hangs in serious jeorpady that if we don’t rise up we will definitely endanger our future and that of our children.
The time is now. We need a change in how things have been done over the years. We have to rally behind the new and vibrant association with arsenals to ensure that the so called bargaining front is broken for us to regain our freedom and dignity.
Remember that so long us *a group of intellectual dweebs* holds a bargaining power and claims they are working for teachers, *we shall crawl and grope in darkness for long.*
A word to the wise is enough. Arise teachers and let’s us demand our freedom from mental slavery and professional stoogism.
Long Live Teachers!
Long Live Ghana!