Ashanti Region: School feeding caterers declare strike
The Ashanti Region’s national school food program caterers have stopped providing their services due to unpaid arrears.
The caterers claim that despite repeated requests, the government has refused to pay their debts. Also, they are advocating for an increase in the per-child feeding allowance from GHC0.97 to GHC3.
“Our justification is basic. We prepared meals for COVID-19, but the government did not pay us in full, a caterer who wished to remain nameless told Asaase News. Since [that time], we have been moaning, but ineffectively. Students have been eating our food for the past three terms, yet they have still not paid in full.
Another caterer remarked, “It’s been a fight for days. Some of our coworkers are passing away. Banks are pursuing them, and we cannot provide for the needs of the young children with such a small sum. This is wrong.
We miss Otiko Afisa, another caterer stated. Everyone will be aware that school feeding is owing us 15 days because she had the ability to pay for 40 days while she was there and communicate with us that she would pay the final 10 or 15 days.
Yet nobody has given us any updates since Cynthia Morrison and the others took charge. They just make payments for the days they choose. Period.”
An unhappy minister
At the Regional School Food Secretariat, the caterers started their demonstration. To deliver a petition to the regional minister, Simon Osei-Mensah, they marched to the Ashanti Regional Coordinating Council.
The minister, however, turned his back on the demonstrators because he was dissatisfied with the caterers’ response to his plea for restraint. Osei-Mensah and the caterers engaged in conversation. This interfered with the Regional Coordination Council’s operations.
“Would you be pleased if your youngster chants at you and asks for a favor? The caterers who became incensed by his remark were informed by Osei-Mensah, “You merely filed a petition, why don’t you go ahead.
“Frustrated as we are, we came [to the RCC] to seek the minister’s intervention but that did not happen. We are unhappy with the minister’s conduct. He could have, at least, heard us. This is very weird, to say the least,” one of the caterers said angrily,
Afterwards, the petition was received by a delegation headed by Gloria Temmah Gambrah, the regional minister’s personal assistant.
When they start working again, the caterers anticipate receiving payment for their arrears from the third term of the previous academic year. They have threatened to trash meals prepared by coworkers who might disagree with their choice.
One day before the beginning of the school year in basic schools, the disgruntled caterers go on strike. There are worries that this change may have an impact on education.