Caterers under the School Feeding Programme say until government agrees to pay them GH¢3.50 per child, they won’t call off their strike.
The aggrieved caterers declared a nationwide strike following the government’s failure to pay them their arrears and increase the amount per child.
In an interview on Eyewitness News, the National Organiser of the School Feeding Association, Kwame Amankwaah said they will only return to the kitchen if the government agrees to increase the amount per child from 97 pesewas to GH¢3.50.
According to him, prices of goods and services have skyrocketed making it difficult for caterers to manage the 97 pesewas government gives them which has been in arrears.
“97 pesewas for a child, how? Check around, one egg is GH¢3, how do you cook for a child for 97 pesewas? And you are asking us to go and cook, things are expensive and the amount given us is woefully inadequate. If they are able to give us at least GH¢3.50 per a child we can manage it”.
He reiterated, “If they [school feeding secretariat] call us today that they have understood our situation we should go and cook and that they will make sure that government pays us GH¢3.50 we will return to the kitchen. But without calling us, we will not go and cook for the kids. We will return if only they agree on the amount to be given us”.
Mr. Amankwaah said they could negotiate with their debtors to get additional supplies if government engages them on their demands.
“We will talk to our debtors that we will pay later if government gives us full assurance of going by our demand,” he said.
The National Organiser of the School Feeding Association said they are saddened by their inability to cook for the students who depend on them.
“We are not happy at all that we are not able to cook for the children. Some even come to schools because of the food because they know that definitely they will have something to eat when they come. Sometimes we sacrifice and buy them water and other stuff,” Mr. Amankwaah emphasised.
He expressed hope that the caterers and government will reach an amicable solution on the matter.
“The pressing issue we are talking about now is the failure of increment, delay in payment, underpayment, arrears. If they can give us assurance that they can increase the amount for us, at least 3.50 pesewas or something, we will be ok with it. We engaged the secretariat, but there has not been any response. When we go there, they only tell us to be patient, government is working on it, and everything is in the pipeline that is what they keep telling us. As I speak with you now, throughout the country there has been no response”.
Caterers will from today, April 27, not be cooking for the school children.