A group of teaching and non-teaching staff under the Ghana Education Service (GES) have vowed to resist what they have described as imposition of a group insurance policy on them by the government.
The GES employees are demanding a refund of the 10 cedis deducted from each of them in their June 2018 salary as premium for the controversial GES-SIC.
Under the policy, all teaching and non-teaching staff of the Service who die or suffer a permanent disability would be given a cover of up to 18,000 cedis depending on the medical report.
Those who suffer illness such as cancer, stroke, major organ transplant and kidney failure would be given a cover up to 9,000 cedis. A critical illness that renders a member totally and permanently disabled receives a full pay-out of 18,000 cedis.
When the first 10-cedi premium was deducted in June 2018, teachers in public basic and senior high schools protested, stating they were unaware of such policy and demanded a cessation of the deduction.
The GES was forced to direct the Controller and Accountant General’s Department to halt the deductions.
It again in February 2019 asked teachers who do not want to be part of the group insurance policy to fill a form to voluntarily opt out of the insurance policy for it to begin on April this year.
But some of the teachers and non-teaching staff of the GES in Kumasi who seem dissatisfied with the posturing of the GES have vowed to embark on simultaneous demonstrations across the country if the policy is not stopped for the right processes to be followed.
According to the group operating under the name Forum for Justice, the GES is clearly perpetrating an illegality
“The union (GES) leaders do not have that constitutional mandate to authorise any deduction or effect any deduction on the salary of the teacher unless they have organised a national delegate’s conference” to make such a decision, President of the Forum, Prosper Takyi said on Monday.
According to the group, there has not been any delegate’s conference or emergency conference to take a decision to enrol all teachers and non-teaching staff of GES on the insurance policy.
“The compulsory deduction is in contravention of section 69(2b) of the Labour Act,” he told a news conference.
“GES does not have that legal rights to make the policy default for all employees simply because government is committed to supporting the scheme. Indeed if GES and government is committed to the welfare of employees, the premium should be fully paid by the employer and [GES] should desist from forcing GES staff to be enrolled on the policy by default,” Mr Takyi stated.
He argued that “Employee consent is required before he or she can be enrolled in such a policy”
For the Forum, there are more important issues affecting teachers’ welfare which if the government and the GES are minded, should focus their energies and attention on.
They claimed that the issue of promotion for some teachers has been lingering since 2017.
“2017 till date they [some teachers] have not been placed on scale,” Mr Takyi said.
Mr Takyi warned that “if after 20th of July, we realise that after validation such a deduction has been effected on our salary,” the teachers will go on demonstration.