Innovative Teachers Union has suggested to the government to make payment of legacy arrears owed the 2012-2016 batch of teachers following the president’s annoucement of the distribution of 280, 000 laptops to teachers.
According to a statement released by the union, GES indicated an intention to give laptops to teachers as their personal assets through the support of government.
The President reiterated it by stating that the government is procuring 280,000 laptops for all teachers in the SONA.
The pictures of samples of the laptops and the specifications of the laptops were shared on social media in the middle of January.
TMI was embossed at the back ofthe laptops as its brand name.
The cost of the laptop was purported to be 1,550 Ghana cedis and teachers will pay 30 percent and government will pay 70 percent respectively.
According to the union, there was no need for the three teacher union (GNAT, NAGRAT and CCT-GH) to accept such a deal because the employer has it a responsibility to provide the machinery, equipment and tools needed by the employees (teachers) to work. They asserted as
- It is instructive to note that the relationship that exist between teachers as employees and Ghana Education Service as the employer is regulated by law. The Labour Law section 9(a) specifically tasks the employer (GES) to provide the machinery, equipment and tools needed by the employees (teachers) to work. It is the responsibility of Ghana Education Service to tool teachers to work.
- This cost sharing idea of tooling teachers under the cloak of ‘personal assets’ is alien to the Labour Law( Act 651).
- GES, Ministry of Education, Ghana National Association of Teachers, NAGRAT and CCT-GH never consulted teachers on the unsolicited distribution of laptops to teachers.
- No survey was done to determine the number of teachers who have laptops and teachers who might not be interested in acquiring laptops from government through cost sharing.
- Teachers who are interested in paying 30 percent of the cost of the laptop ought to have signed a consent form that would have formed the premise to produce a number of laptops in order to prevent waste of public funds.
- Procuring 280,000 laptops for all teachers when GES cannot force all teachers to pay 30 percent of the cost of the laptops is a grotesque waste of public funds and a betrayal of protecting the public purse mantra by the President.
- GNAT, NAGRAT and CCT acceptance of this deal is irrelevant because the individual teacher has the choice to make whether to pay the 30 percent cost of the laptop or not.
- Deductions of employees’ salaries by the employer is regulated by section 70(1a, b, c, d, f and 2a, b, c , d) of the Labour Act (Act 651). Any attempt to force all teachers to pay the 30 percent will be fiercely resisted through the court.
- The TMI laptops are of doubtful quality just like the RLG laptops. There are no parts on the market to replace them when any part needs to be replaced and as a result it will not last long to deliver the purpose for which they were procured.
10. One cannot fathom but wonder why the state cannot procure laptops from known brands such as hp, Lenovo, Dell, Toshiba, Samsung, Sony, Acer that are generally of good quality and their parts can easily be replaced when they get spoilt.
11. The RLG laptops distributed to some teachers and some schools in Ghana that broke down in less than two years and could not be repaired is fueling a sense of uneasiness among teachers in buying these laptops from government since TMI is an unknown brand. It is highly patronising and grossly disrespectful for government to give laptops of low quality to teachers as ifteachers are so poor that we cannot afford quality laptops as our personal assets.
Many teachers have sophisticated laptops and smart phones with better specifications than the laptops GES wants to distribute to teachers.
The union is therefore is calling on government to order the company contracted to produce of 280,000 TMI laptops to stop production immediately.
However, the leadership of the union has indicated in order for the government and the Ghana Education Service to show respect to teachers and the labour law, the government must acquire laptops such as hp, Lenovo, Toshiba, Acer, and Dell for teachers. The laptops must be given to teachers free of charge.
“What is good for Article 71 office holders is equally good for teachers under section 9(a) of the Labour Act”, the statement added.
The union has also suggested to the government to concentrate on the payment of teachers legacy arrears.
“What teachers need now is the payment of the legacy arrears from 2012 to 2016 and not unsolicited distribution of laptops of doubtful quality”, the statement added.