Government has decided to apply the biblical aphorism that, “he who does no work, neither shall he eat” to striking polytechnic teachers. As a result, the teachers will not receive their August salary, a source at the Ministry of Education has told this paper.
This information was confirmed by an official of the Controller and Accountant General’s Department, who said they have received directives from government not to pay the August salary of the striking teachers.
After taking their May, June, and July salaries for no work done having embarked on a nationwide strike action on May 15, 2014, the directive from government will come as a rude shock to the teachers.
Under their umbrella body, the Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG), the teachers embarked on the strike action after government said it would no longer pay their book and research allowance, directing that those who need money for research must apply to the Research Fund.
The strike has seen over 70,000 polytechnic students returning home. The umbrella body of the students, the Ghana National Union of Polytechnic students (GNUPS) withdrew their support for POTAG’s action accusing it of shifting the goal post after government yielded to their demands.
After the President of POTAG, James Dugrah, was discovered to be a staunch NPP member, a former Director of Communication of the opposition party in the Upper East Region, many accused him of deliberately exploiting the grievances of the teachers to score political points for his party.
Coupled with what is seen as shifting of the goal post in the wake of government’s decision to pay their book and Research allowance for this year, many have withdrawn their sympathy for POTAG.
Many were stunned when earlier this week, James Dugrah told the media that they would only call of the strike if the Deputy Minister for Education, Hon. Sammy Okudzeto-Ablakwa, apologizes to them for announcing government was considering withholding the payment of their August salaries.
The decision not to pay the salaries of the striking teachers is certain to receive the endorsement of many members of the public including polytechnic students who believe the reasons for the strike no longer exists.