n African Review of Economics and Finance - Striking where it hurts : the political economy of graduate teachers strikes and labour relations in Ghana's public education sector

Volume 7, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 2042-1478
  • E-ISSN: 2410-4906


This article examines the 2005 and 2006 strike actions of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT). It seeks to investigate the root causes of teacher grievances during the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government's administration; government responses to these agitations; and, finally, to highlight significant contours of the political economy of labour relations in Ghana's public education sector. It is demonstrated that, among other things, it was the lackadaisical attitude of government, the Education Ministry and the Ghana Education Service in resolving the teachers' grievances that resulted in the 2005 and 2006 strikes. I also argue that the posturing of the government and its institutions in resolving the teacher's grievances, once the strike had started, entrenched the attitudes of the striking teachers and prolonged the strike action. Government's failure to stifle teacher's discontent and find an amicable settlement resulted in legal pressure and threats of dismissal aimed at compelling the striking teachers to end their action. Government also attempted to drive a wedge between NAGRAT and the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) by hiding behind the technicality of the use of the collective bargaining certificate in the education sector, and presented the strike action as a rift between GNAT and NAGRAT, rather than between NAGRAT and the government. Furthermore, government sought, subtly, to pitch the public (at least its sympathisers) against the striking teachers by constructing the strike action as politically inspired to discredit its administration. Primary sources used for the article were drawn from personal interviews, newspaper reports, observations, and official union documents, which include letters, memoranda and press releases.

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