Tamale North MP, Alhassan Suhuyini

Member of Parliament for Tamale North, Alhassan Suhuyini, has expressed solidarity with teachers over their demand for the payment of Cost of Living Allowance (COLA).

According to him, the demand is necessary, given the current economic hardship in the country.

Speaking in an interview on the AM Show on Thursday, he explained that, the prices of goods and services keep escalating, and therefore the demands by the agitating teachers are justifiable.

Mr Suhuyini, therefore, called on government to respond to the grievances of the teachers, who are currently in the fourth day of a nationwide strike, which began on Monday, July 4, 2022.

“It is long overdue. The cost of living allowance, known as ‘COLA’, must be given because clearly, the cost of living has just gone out of everybody’s control; and they deserve it. Government must find a way”, he told host, Samuel Kojo Brace while backing the demands by some striking teacher unions in the country.

At the moment, members of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), the Teachers and Education Workers Union (TEWU), the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT) have all laid down their tools, in protest of government’s failure to pay them their ‘COLA’.

Earlier, the teacher unions gave government a June 30 ultimatum to pay the said allowance.

However, government did not redeem this deadline compelling the teachers to declare a strike at a press conference on July 4, 2022.

Meanwhile, a crunch meeting between the leadership of the four striking teacher labour unions and the government to resolve the impasse ended in a stalemate.

The meeting was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Finance, the CEO of Fair Wages and Salaries Commission, Benjamin Arthur; Director-General of Ghana Education Service, Prof Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa; Minister of Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum and Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffour-Awuah.

A member of the leadership of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Isaac Baah who was present at the meeting told JoyNews in an interview that the “government came empty-handed and so we ended the meeting”.

However, Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul, has pleaded with workers unions to exercise patience with the government as it negotiates with the International Monetary Fund for a bailout.

According to him, if the government had the means to meet their demands, there would be no need for the ongoing strike actions some of the unions have embarked on. He, therefore, called for cool heads to prevail.

Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express on Wednesday, Dominic Nitiwul said “This idea of I’m going to go on strike, I’m going to do this, if government has all the means they will give it to you. This government has shown very good faith to everybody that if they have the means they will do it”.

“They’ve never disrespected workers, they’ve never shouted on workers, they’ve negotiated with workers in good faith. I plead with them that they should give government the opportunity to negotiate with them in good faith”, he admonished.