The Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O) of the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC), Dr. Edward Kwapong, has indicated that the commission has not received a clear mandate from the government to meet and negotiate with the Teachers and Education Workers Union (TEWU) picketing over their conditions of service.
Speaking to Emmanuel Samani on the Midday Live on Tuesday, January 13, on what is delaying the renegotiation for better conditions of service for the TEWU, Dr. Kwapong emphasized that the commission has exhausted its mandate to negotiate with the picketing union concerning their demands.
“In the course of negotiations we always go with a mandate and when we get to a point where the mandate is exhausted we go back to the government, we go back to the controller of the purse and so we haven’t had the indication of a clear mandate to meet with them and that has delayed the process. But you will agree with me that, between the last meeting and now, there has been a political season where many of the ministers have been campaigning in their constituencies, traveling between their ministries and their constituencies so it’s very difficult to get them to look at the proposals and their financial implications we have submitted to them, on a particular item that has a huge financial burden,” he pointed out.
He further indicated that on January 12 when the commission heard that TEWU has decided to put a temporary hold on their strike actions, they called a few of their leaders to further persuade them to call off the picketing by scheduling a meeting with them on Thursday, January 14, at 10:00 am to listen to their concerns with the appropriate mandate to meet with them.
Dr. Kwapong also acknowledged that the strike actions by TEWU would affect school activities, so the commission is doing everything in its power to avert the strike.
“We respect the rule of law, therefore anybody seeking to go on strike must follow the laid down procedures. When we haven’t declared a deadlock for a party to go to the National Labour Commission(NLC), you do not declare a strike, that would be unlawful, that would be illegal,” he declared
The Teachers and Education Workers Union(TEWU) declared a nationwide strike action of all its members Monday, January 11, to press home their demands for better conditions of service for its members, as the government decides to open schools for students to return to the classroom.