Granting 20% COLA will have dire consequences; have frank negotiations on this – Austin Gamey

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The Chief Executive Officer of the Gamey and Gamey Group, Mr Austin A. Gamey, has cautioned against any move to grant the 20 per cent Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) because in his view, it will have dire consequences on the public purse.

He called for frank discussions and negotiations among the government officials and the teacher unions on this demand.

Speaking on the Key Points on TV3 Saturday July 9, Mr Gamey said both sides, the government and the unions have have honest conversations devoid of threat of dismissing somebody for expressing critical views, in order to reach a desired solution.

“The solution to this problem is, the workers and other leadership, they are not oblivious of the fact that if 20 per cent COLA is given the consequences may turn out to be something. Is there any other alternative? I think so. That is why they must go and press on, considering various options and reaching consensus that will satisfy all parties. It may not be enough but the reality is that, are there other alternative, I think there are.

“There are various other things that can be done because if you give 20 per cent COLA it can drag us into some problems, the risk are so terrible and we should not venture.”

On Monday, 4th July 2022, the four (4) Unions in Education, namely Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), TEWU and Coalition of Concerned Teachers, Ghana, withdrew their services in all the Pre-Tertiary educational space, to back their demand for the Cost-of-Living Allowance (COLA).

This involved both Teaching and Non-Teaching staff.

The Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has acknowledged that the government has a lot of work to do given that the cost of living has gone up globally which is affecting all workers including teachers.

Speaking in an interview with TV3’s Daniel Opoku after a meeting with the striking teacher unions and other labour unions, in Accra on Friday July 8,the Finance Minister said “we believe that the cost of living has gone up globally and therefore, we should find a forum in which we all will discuss it so that we can have the common language and move forward in peace.

“There is a lot of work to be done but I think it can only be done properly in an environment in which we all understand each other and make sure that we don’t have agitations that will disrupt the very difficult journey that going ahead.

“We are looking forward to further engagements to avoid disruptions of the lives of our people, for example the students right now who by August should be taking exams, we will like to avoid all of these issues. “

He said when asked whether government will grant the 20 per cent demand that “We have called for the meeting, they are drafting the communique as to when we will all meet. All of us will consider the financial implications.”

Asked again whether the government has considered the financial implications especially when the country is before the IMF? he said “I am the Finance Minister and I am here, so obviously, we will consider all of that. I think all of us will consider the financial implications as a body, I think that the main issue is trust and an appreciation that government empathy is there, things are globally difficult.

“I think it is the highest inflation in 40 years in the US, UK, and EU and for us too, it is about the past 18 years thus may be the highest. so obviously as a people we need to confront that going forward.”

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana

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