Monetization of GNAT a reality or a flawed perception of teachers, union members and the teeming worried general public? Some stakeholders also believe that the looming Monetization of GNAT at the union needs to halt. Whatever your stand, Da-Blueberry Stephen Sabo has perfectly dissected the issues. He writes…
Pluck the looming Monetization of GNAT
The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) is one of the most vibrant unions and the mother to all teacher Unions in Ghana. By deed and trust, it has the highest membership base, hence owns the bargaining certificate to represent all teachers and educational workers on the negotiation table towards improvements in the Conditions of Service of members.
In a related development, Organized Labour negotiated for a paltry 4% and 7% salary increments for 2021 and 2022, respectively. Their other counterparts, such as the President, his Ministers and Deputy Ministers, raised theirs by 79%, 57% and 53% respectively. There are other enhanced packages attached to these mouth-watering salary increments over the same period.
This development was fiercely met with various agitations at the labour front as members sought to lock up some GNAT offices across the country .
There is a public outcry; leading to public sector workers asking their leaders to go back to the negotiation table for a better negotiation outcome. Surprisingly, this demand met an unfavourable response as the TUC, including the Teacher Unions, claimed to have taken the best decision for it’s members at the time and that re-negotiation was legally and morally impossible. We get the leaders we deserve!.
Some reasons that were ascribed by Union Leaders for accepting the 4% and 7% increment in the base pay for 2021 and 2022 respectively were:
■Damaging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the public purse
■Threat by Government to declare mass redundancy if the 4% and 7% were rejected.
■To avoid a freeze on public sector employment.
■For all workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19
■For the government to pay Tier 2 Social Security contributions to workers, etc.
The announcement was met with agitations by workers against the low percentage increase amidst the rocketing rise in prices of goods and services
The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) and Organized Labour did their best but their best was woefully inadequate. Unfortunately, this development made some workers to sadly refer to their leaders as “thieves, selfish and greedy”. Some teachers referred to themselves as “4% Beneficiaries.
The disgruntled workers organized Press Conferences to express their displeasure and disgust over the 4% and 7% salary increments.
Did the leaders of our union anticipate any possible reactions of their members to the 4% salary increase? If they did not, then it’s rather unfortunate and unpardonable.
2021 is yet another year for the GNAT to elect it’s leaders to steer it’s affairs for the next 4 years at the District and Regional levels. The union needs dedicated and committed leaders to be able to transform it’s operations and to be able to negotiate for improved conditions of service for its youthful members.
In order to create a fair play ground for all aspirants and to elect the best leaders among the lot, the looming monetization of GNAT needs to be fixed. Failing to fix this social canker would lead to some candidates having undue advantage over their opponents due to natural injustice.
Vote buying has permeated the system in such a way that candidates engage in it openly nowadays. Information emanating from delegates representing their members across the country indicates that some aspirants in the ongoing Regional and National Delegates Conferences have planned to flood the conference grounds with with money and other valuables ostensibly to influence prospective gullible delegates to vote for them.
Very capable and competent candidates who lost in previous Local, District, Regional and National level elections due to this “money syndrome” at various delegates conferences is a thwarting the forward march of the Union. This act of monetization of GNAT should be condemned by all. When a better aspirant lost, it is the Union that suffers!.
After the election results were declared in one of the just ended District Delegates Conferences, a delegate shouted heartily “…his money wasn’t enough…”
This comment presupposes that not all aspirants who lost in the just ended Local, District and Regional Delegates Conferences did that genuinely. The monetization of the Union greatly influences the outcomes of these elections. Such a canker should be nipped in the bud if we really want GNAT to grow, glow and blossom.
In a particular GNAT District in the country, a candidate was alleged to have given various sums of money ranging from GHC50.00 to GHC100.00 via MoMo to about 250 delegates and also took care of their snack. At the end of the election, the number of votes he polled equalled the number of delegates he feted…
I recommend the timely plucking of this looming monetization tactics in order to safe the union from the greedy hands of the selfish unionists parading themselves to lead the union. Some aspirants are equally seeking for yet another opportunity to continue to make the union unattractive to the grassroots financiers, but very lucrative to our Fund Managers and Administrators. This is unacceptable!.
Quadrennially, I shall humbly seek this rare opportunity to serve GNAT, my beloved Union. Surprisingly, I shall continue to do it in my own way; to change the status quo and create the needed platform for the “poor” to also lead GNAT at the highest level. I shall not give a penny to any delegate to influence them to vote for me. I shall demand for a fairer playground for all aspirants: the “haves” and the “have nots”, the rich and the poor… to compete fairly.
I shall equally seek the needed platform to account to delegates my stewardship in GNAT over the years, what I am currently doing to improve upon it’s growth and development and what practical options I have in stock to change the status quo if given the nod. May God see me through!!.
Da-Balorror Stephen Sabo
A Youth, Gender and Community Development Activist
Upper West Region
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