Accra, Ghana (PANA) - Labour unrest, change of guard in the Ghana Armed Forces and reshuffle of top officers of the Ghana Police Service were some of the stories reported in the Ghanaian media this week.
Teacher unions, which went on strike 18 March to press demands for higher pay and better conditions of service, suspended their action this week following the intervention of President John Mahama.
But this has been followed by threats of strike by doctors, pharmacists and civil servants in continuing tango with the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) for better terms on the single spine salary structure.
“Strike over! Teacher unions ask members to resume work,” was the headline of the state-owned Ghanaian Times. It said the three teacher unions have suspended indefinitely the nationwide strike they started on 18 March.
The newspaper said this paves the wave for negotiation on their demands to continue.
Mr Samuel Doe Alobuia, President of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), said the decision to call off the industrial action stemmed from the assurances given by President Mahama and appeals from numerous quarters.
He said their action was “fruitful” as it culminated in a lot of administrative work among stakeholders to ensure that all allowances and arrears were paid, as well as addressing issues relating to teachers’ promotion.
The headline of the state-owned Graphic read, “Teachers back to classroom,” with the story saying striking teachers in first and second-cycle schools have decided to return to work while negotiations to resolve their grievances continue with the appropriate authorities.
At a press conference in Accra on Tuesday, Mr Alobuia said much administrative work had been done by the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the FWSC to address teachers’ concerns.
He said the teacher unions had also received communication from the FWSC which had offered the associations the opportunity to negotiate the proposed Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the commission.
Mr Alobuia said the leadership of the teacher unions considered the fact that as “agents of change and examples to society, we do not want to be seen as too unyielding to pleas coming from President Mahama, religious organisations, parents and students”.
Meanwhile, the Ghanaian Times reported in a story under the headline “University Teachers to withdraw services 2 April” that the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) has also threatened to embark on strike effective Tuesday 2 April.
In a statement signed by the National President of UTAG, Dr. Anthony Simmons, the association said its members would withdraw all teaching services in all public Universities to back its demand for immediate payment of all salary arrears owed its members since 2012.
He dispelled claims that the recent strike by several unions are politically motivated, adding that the strike being embarked by UTAG is as a result of the failure by government to fulfil its promises.
An Accra-based radio station, “XYZ”, reported that the Government Hospital and Pharmacists Association (GHOSPA) is threatening to withdraw their services effective 8 April if guidelines on their market premium on the new salary structure are not implemented immediately.
The Graphic had the headline, “Doctors serve notice of reactivating their strike”, with the story saying the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has threatened to reactivate their strike next week pending an executive meeting.
This, it said, was “due to the delay and diversionary tactics being employed by the Fair Wages and Salary Commission (FWSC)”.
In a statement, the GMA said: “GMA cannot be attending countless fruitless meetings ad infinitum as it's clear that the Fair Wages and Salary Commission (FWSC) is out to only frustrate the Ghana Medical Association and is not willing to reach any agreement.
“GMA will like to therefore inform the general public that the suspended road map which led to the partial withdrawal of services by doctors in the public sector on 11th February, 2013 will unfortunately have to be reactivated very soon pending the National Executive Council of the Ghana Medical Association meeting next week,” the statement said.
But the chief executive of FWSC, Mr George Smith-Graham, is calling the bluff of the university teachers and doctors, describing the threats as moves to stampede the implementation of the Single Spine Salary Structure.
Mr Smith-Graham says his outfit will not give in to their demands.
“Reshuffle in Ghana Police Service,” was the headline of the Ghanaian Times on transfers in the service.
It said the Ghana police service had undertaken a major reshuffle within its hierarchy involving 20 senior officers nationwide.
The new postings will take effect on 1 April.
The version of the Graphic said the acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Mohammed Ahmed Alhassan, has made major changes in the top hierarchy of the Ghana Police Service.
The changes did not affect only some members of the Headquarters Management Advisory Board (HEMAB), but also saw the elevation of a number of service personnel to higher positions.
On the change of guard in the Ghana Armed Forces, the Graphic reported that President Mahama has appointed Rear Admiral Matthew Quashie as Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) of the Ghana Armed Forces.
Until his appointment, Rear Admiral Quashie, who takes over from Lt.-Gen. Peter Blay, was the Chief of Naval Staff.
A statement issued by the Office of the President said Air Vice Marshall Michael Samson-Ojey retains his position as Chief of Air Staff, with Commodore Geoffrey Mawuli Biekro, former Chief of Staff at the Defence Headquarters, taking over as Chief of Naval Staff, while Brig.-Gen. Richard Opoku-Adusei, former General Officer Commanding the Northern Command of the Ghana Army, becomes the Chief of Army Staff.
-0- PANA MA/SEG 30Mar2013