JUST IN: Teachers Legacy Salary Arrears to be cleared by December 19 – Controller

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The Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD) says the last batch of 1,200 staff of the Ghana Education Service (GES) who qualify for the legacy arrears would be paid by Thursday, December 19, 2019.

That figure will bring to a total of 88,756, staff qualified to be paid under the arrears.

So far, a total of 87,566 names validated and approved for payment have been paid, Graphic Online has gathered.

Last Monday, members of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers-Ghana (CCT-GH) began a nationwide strike due to what they said were delays in the payment of legacy arrears which spanned between 2012-2016.

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The unions said, among other things, that they were concerned about the payment of the arrears because their checks had revealed that the arrears had been verified and approved for payment by the Controller and Accountant-General’s Internal Audit Unit about three weeks earlier.

However, they said when the verified data were handed over to the Ghana Education Service (GES) for review and action, the GES would not budge because it claimed some discrepancies had been discovered with some of the payments already effected.

Validation and pruning

A source at the CAGD who spoke to Graphic Online’s Severious Kale-Dery and By Emmanuel Bonney, said although about 120,232 names were submitted for the payment of the legacy arrears owed staff between 2012 and 2016, the number was pruned down to 92,164 after the audit and validation.

The validation and auditing carried out by the CAGD included checking the date of employment, the date of assumption of duty, the first date of payment of salary and the qualification as well as the ranks of all those who applied for payment.

Figures at the GES showed that per the payment schedule of those who qualified, out of 63,212 names cleared by the AGD in March 2019 for further interrogation by the CAGD, 61,612 merited payment and were paid on March 17, 2019.

Additionally, on March 18, 2019, the CAGD paid 12,016 out of a total of out of 13,177 names submitted by the AGD.

According to the payment schedule, on August 18, 2019, all of the 13,928 affected workers whose names were submitted were dully paid.

That means that a total of 3,408 names submitted by the CAGD were found not to have merited payment of the legacy arrears.

Payment schedule

Figures at the GES showed that per the payment schedule of those who qualified, out of 63,212 names cleared by the AGD in March 2019 for further interrogation by the CAGD, 61,612 merited payment and were paid on March 17, 2019.

Additionally, on March 18, 2019, the CAGD paid 12,016 out of a total of out of 13,177 names submitted by the AGD.

According to the payment schedule, on August 18, 2019, all of the 13,928 affected workers whose names were submitted were dully paid.

That means that a total of 3,408 names submitted by the AGD were found not to have merited payment of the legacy arrears.

Provisional

However, a source at the GES explained that even though 1,200 staff were being paid this month, “that figure is a provisional one.”

“It means that if we finish with our checks and a staff in that 1,200 is found not to have deserved payment but has been paid, he or she will have to refund whatever that he or she had been paid,” the source explained.

Queried staff

It explained that for instance, about 743 of the 1,847 that was cleared by the AGD had been identified not deserving to be paid.

“So, it means if our checks are correct, 96 of them will be required to refund whatever that he or she had received,” the source said, adding that the GES would be publishing the list of the 743 staff, whose request for payment had been queried.

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It, however requested staff whose names were among the 743 and they strongly felt they deserved to be paid should reapply with all the relevant documents for verification and possible consideration for payment.

Regional breakdown

A list chanced by Graphic Online revealed that the 743 staff queried and eliminated from the list would have drawn Ghc13,743,634.90.

In the list, 247 of the staff are from the then Brong Ahafo Region, 91 from the Region Ashanti Region, 92 from Eastern Region, while 74, 65 and 51 are from the then Western, Upper West, and Central regions respectively.

The rest are 45 from the then Volta Region, 34, 28 and 16 from the Upper East, then Northern Region and Greater Accra regions respectively.

Why further checks

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Explaining why the list cleared by the AGD still needed to be pruned, the source said the AGD was concerned itself with the documentation, veracity of employment, date if employment, date of resumption of office and date of first salary.

The source explained that when the list came to the CAGD and the GES, “because we have the payroll, we are able to detect who deserves to be paid and how much.”

Receipt

The teacher unions have admitted receiving a letter from the NLC directing them to call of their strike.

An Accra High Court has ordered striking teachers of the three teacher unions to call of their strike and return to the classrooms.

The court, presided over by Her Lady Ship, Mrs Ananda J. Aikins, said the unions, whether by themselves, their executives, officers, members, agents, employees or other persons are to comply with the directives of the National Labour Commission (NLC) dated December 5, 2019.

It said the teachers were restrained from further continuing any strike action and the order shall remain for a period of 10 days.

NLC

A statement by the Chairman of the NLC, Mr Andy Kwabena Asamoah, said on December 5, 2019, the commission invited the representatives of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Ministry of Education and Fair Wages and Salary Commission, National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT-GH) to appear before it to resolve the impasse relating to the legacy arrears which had culminated in a threat of strike.

“The unions failed to appear before the commission and to call off their threatened strike which was to take effect from December 9, 2019.
“Having disobeyed the directive of the NLC, issued together with its letter summoning the parties to appear before it on December 10, 2019, as well as embarking on an illegal strike action, the commission upon an application to the high court …secured an injunction restraining the said unions,” it said.

The NLC on Tuesday directed the striking teachers to call off their industrial action and return to work.

It said in the exercise of the authority conferred in it by Section 139 (1)(b) of Act 651, it found the associations’ action in violation of Act 651 and, therefore, the ongoing strike by the unions was illegal.

A statement signed by the Chairman of the NLC, Mr Andy Kwabena Asamoah, said the commission had, on Tuesday, December 10, 2019, met the representatives of the Ghana Education Service (GES), the Ministry of Education and the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission, but representatives of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT-GH) were absent.

The statement said NAGRAT, GNAT and CCT-GH failed to notify the NLC and its employer of the ongoing nationwide strike, in contravention of Section 159 of the Labour Act 2003, Act 651.

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