Members of both large teaching unions in Ghana are to take part in a general strike in the country on November 18th. The strike has been called by the Trade Union Congress and the teachers will be joined by their colleagues in higher education as well as doctors, farm workers, transport workers and many more.

The strike has been called to protest against the increases in utility prices, with the price of electricity in the country going up by 78%, and the price of water by 52% since the 1st October. Mass demonstrations are also being planned.

It does not take long to find the hand of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) behind these price increases. In its most recent report from the country, it stated: "The (IMF) mission agreed with the authorities on the need to reduce subsidies and tackle the problems in the energy sector. It welcomed the reinstatement of the automatic fuel price adjustment mechanism. Going forward, restoration of electricity tariffs to cost-recovery levels will reduce fiscal risks and provide the needed space for higher social spending and critical infrastructure."

In fact far from suggesting investment in the public sector as the last sentence of the above quote implies, the IMF suggests decreasing the salaries of public servants (amongst whom teachers are the most numerous) still further. Elsewhere in the report it says: "Considering the unsustainable wage dynamics of recent years, a different approach is needed, based on wage moderation and strategic choices about the size and composition of the civil service."

Teachers in Ghana have fought repeatedly for a living wage, or in some cases for any wage at all and have frequently been treated with contempt of even brutality by the government. At present a group representing about 50,000 teachers, called the Coalition of Concerned Teachers of Ghana are on strike in defiance of their leadership, because they are still owed money promised to them by the government.