Former Gender Minister, Otiko Afisa Djaba has made calls for the Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah to apologise to caterers under the School Feeding Programme in the region.
According to her, Mr Mensah’s reaction towards the unpaid caterers who recently went to present a petition to him was inappropriate.
“The regional minister of the Ashanti region should have been more tolerant of them and he should apologise to them for his behaviour,” Madam Djaba stressed in an interview on JoyNew’s AM Show, Thursday, April 27.
She further raised the issue of inflation in prices and the high cost of commodities such as food and contended that government was being unfair to the caterers for the delay in their payment.
She maintained that she was in support of the caterers embarking on a strike action with the justification that they were fighting for their rights.
Additionally, she emphasised the need for the government to improve the terms and conditions of the Progamme for the caterers.
“The caterers have a valid point. And I feel strongly that I must support and back them. Governments must pay their arrears and increase their amount immediately and have a sitting with them and discuss… They want to know when the increment will be paid, and what is the increment,” the former Gender Minister emphasised.
Subsequently, she stressed that it was essential for government to treat the caterers with respect.
Also, she said the caterers were fighting for justice by petitioning, but not to disgrace the reputation of any government as some people perceived their strike action to be.
“When they petition, we should understand that they are not petitioning to shame anybody or to spoil anybody’s job. They are fighting for their rights. Fighting for your right is about justice. Where there is no justice, you have chaos. When they refuse to cook because they are not being paid, let nobody be mysterious to say that they are shaming a government or anybody. It is their duty, and they need to be respected,” Madam Djaba reiterated.
The Former Gender Minister’s demand falls on the back of the Ashanti Regional Minister chastising some unpaid School Feeding caterers who went to picket at the Regional Coordinating Council to present a petition to him on April 3.
Following that, caterers under the Programme also declared a national strike on April 27, over government’s failure to pay them their arrears and increase the amount paid per child from 97 pesewas to GH¢3.50.
According to the National Organiser of the School Feeding Association, Kwame Amankwaah in an interview on Citi FM, the caterers intend to return to the kitchen only after government agrees to increase the amount per child.