Tuesday, July 2, 2013

NAGRAT Expresses Concern Over Base Pay Delays

Even before issues surrounding the migration of its membership onto the Single Spine Salary Structure [SSSS] are entirely resolved, the Northern Regional Council of NAGRAT has expressed grave concern and disappointment in the delay by government to come out with the base pay that would determine the salary level of the 2013 fiscal year. 

A press statement signed by Northern Regional Chairman of NAGRAT Abdul-Samad Mustak and issued to the media including Savannahnews, said the delay in determining the 2013 base pay and salary levels had further worsened the already bad situation of the Ghanaian worker.

The statement cited an increase in petroleum prices that had triggered an increase in other prices such as food stuff and rent. The statement also mentioned the free fall of the cedi against other major currencies that had affected the Ghanaian worker adversely as most consumer goods were imported. It further stressed that the delay was also worrying because it created the situation for salary arrears to accumulate with all its attendant problems. 

According to the statement, the Northern Regional Council therefore called for the immediate negotiation and conclusion of the 2013 base pay. The statement indicated that, in the light of the high cost of living brought about by petroleum price increases, the Council expected the 2013 base pay to be increased by at least 30 percent. 

The statement said the Council, however, cautioned that the back pay that had come about due to the delay in coming out with the 2013 base pay should be paid cumulatively and not spread over a period of time.  

CEO, FWSC, George Smith-Graham
It would be recalled that, on Monday March 18, 2013, members of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) embarked upon a nationwide sit-down strike following government’s failure to address their longstanding grievances related to the SSSS.    

NAGRAT mentioned the non-negotiation of categories 2 and 3 allowances for teachers; unilateral freezing of annual incremental credits for teachers; non-payment of vehicle maintenance allowances; and refusal of Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) to renegotiate Retention Premium for teachers.

The rest included delays in the promotion of teachers; the unilateral decision of the Ghana Education Service to freeze the placement of teachers with additional responsibilities; Failure of the Ghana Education Service management to negotiate allowances for the supervision and invigilation of examination conducted by the West African Examination Council (WAEC); and Non-generation of pay slips.

In an interview with Mr. Mustak, he told Savannahnews that a memorandum of understanding that was signed between NAGRAT and government during their strike in March had still not been completely fulfilled up till now, as some members had been taken care of while others were yet to be taken care of.

Meanwhile, coming events, they say, cast their shadows. Thus, with the emergence of this new development one would wonder whether that is the beginning of another nationwide strike to be embarked upon soon by NAGRAT. Time will tell.

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