The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) has asked the Ghana Education Service (GES) to withdraw its circular directing teachers or staff occupying government bungalows to pay 10 per cent of their salaries as rent.
GNAT said the directive is unfortunate and against the spirit and letter of a Collective Agreement between GES and teacher unions in August, 2020.
On March 11, the GES in Western Region directed all District Directors of Education and all heads of senior high schools in the region to ensure that teachers and staff living in government bungalows pay 10 per cent of their salaries as rent.
This was pursuant to a circular by the Finance Ministry in 2006, which declared that public sector workers living in public bungalows will be charged 10 per cent of their salaries as rent payment.
However, in a statement issued by GNAT on March 15, the Association expressed dismay over the directive by the GES.
“We go further to draw the attention of GES to Section 19 of the Collective Agreement, August, 2020, which also deals with staff accommodation and states, again without equivocation that accommodation may be provided for the following category of staff: Headmasters, Assistant Headmasters, Senior Housemasters, Housemasters, Principals, Vice Principals, Headteachers, Assistant Headteachers, Frontline Deputy Directors and Guidance and Counselling Officers and Chaplains and Imams in Second Cycle Institutions,” portions of the statement read.
The Association cautioned that if the GES intends to renege on the stipulations in the 2020 Collective Agreement, it would not succeed since that would amount to a ‘breach of Union trust’ and an ‘unfair labour decision’.
The statement further referred the GES to Section 21(I) of the 2020 Collective Agreement which states that “Headmasters, Assistant Headmasters, Senior Housemasters, Housemasters, Principals, Vice Principals, Headteachers, Assistant Headteachers, Frontline ADs and Guidance and Counselling Officers in 2nd Cycle institutions shall be provided with free residential accommodation and that where there is no residential accommodation, the Service shall be responsible for the rents of the officers concerned. The same shall apply to Directors at the District, Regional/Divisional levels”.
GNAT added that any attempt to implement the 10 per cent rent charges on salaries of staff and teachers would be resisted fiercely stressing that the industrial peace enjoyed on the educational front could be jeopardised.
The 2019 Auditor-General’s report indicated that for the outstanding rent in the Ghana Education Service (GES), there are 59 tenants who have defaulted the 10 per cent rent payment.
Out of the number, 9 of the defaulters are from the Headquarters of the GES, 5 from the Eastern Regional Education office of the GES and 45 from the District Education Office in Donkorkrom.
The report also pointed out that a total amount of GH₵111,032.25 is owed as arrears by the Ghana Education Service as of 2019.
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