End nationwide strike and meet us on Thursday – NLC tells UTAG, SSA-UoG
The National Labour Commission (NLC) has asked the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG), and the Senior Staff Association of Universities of Ghana (SSA-UoG) to end their nationwide strike.
The NLC has also asked the two striking bodies to appear before it on Thursday, August 5, 2021.
The commission expects to meet UTAG at 11 a.m. and meet with SSA-UoG at 12:30 p.m., on the same day.
Present at the meeting would be representatives from the Ministry of Employment and Labour, and the Ministry of Education.
Others would be representatives from the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals (CVCP), the Ghana Tertiary Education Council, and the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission.
In view of the upcoming meeting, the Commission has advised the striking bodies to call off their industrial action.
According to the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Mr Ofosu Asamoah, negotiations were still ongoing, with a meeting between the government and aggrieved bodies scheduled for today, August 3.
This, he said, required that they end their industrial action, because, “in the process of negotiations, you don’t declare a strike, wear red armbands, or engage in a lockout.”
“That is why we are advising them to call off the strike. There is a meeting on Thursday, so if they call off, fine, if they don’t call off, the Commission will make a decision,” Mr Ofosu Asamoah further stated.
Providing background to the strike, Mr Ofosu Asamoah said that the striking bodies were before it together with government representatives to have the matter settled.
However, in the course of the hearing, they agreed upon the request of one of the parties that they would go and have the matter settled out of the Commission and report back.
“So, we granted them the opportunity to do that because we want, rather, a peaceful resolution of the matter. Ordinarily, we expected if things do not go well, they would come back to the Commission and have the matter continued.
Unfortunately, their notice said that, if the government does settle the matter, they will go on strike and that is what they did,” he said.
Adding that, “That is why we have invited them, properly when parties are negotiating, and they hit the rock, it is either for one of the parties or both of them to come to the Commission, and it takes over the adjudication process.”
Meanwhile, Ofosu Asamoah has indicated that the Commission is hopeful of helping the parties resolve the matter amicably.
“Much of the problems have been solved, it is just the bit that has brought all this problem. But we are hopeful, and even before they come to the Commission, attempts are being made at all levels to have the matter resolve,” he explained.
He was speaking in an interview monitored by The Ghana Report on Citi FM’s Eyewitness News on Monday evening.
UTAG and SSA-UoG embarks on an indefinite strike
Members of the University Teachers Association of Ghana and the Senior Staff Association of Universities of Ghana embarked on an indefinite strike yesterday, asking the government to restore the conditions of service agreed upon in 2012.
The 2012 conditions of service pegged the Basic plus Market Premium of a lecturer at $2,084.42. However, UTAG has complained that the current arrangement has reduced its members’ basic premiums to $997.84.
The Universities’ Senior Staff on the other hand has been asking for the award of market premiums and non-basic allowances, as well as the finalisation of negotiations of their conditions of service.
The strike on Monday brought academic activities to half across universities across the country, with students, most of whom were preparing for their exams, bearing the brunt of the industrial action.
NUGS appeals to UTAG, SSA-UoG to consider their plight, and end strike
Meanwhile, the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) has appealed to the UTAG and SSA-UoG to reconsider their strike, taking into consideration the interest of the students even though the demands of the two unions are legitimate.
NUGS, in a statement signed by the President, Emmanuel Boakye Yiadom, said, “We appeal to our lecturers to stay in the classroom for the sake of the future generation as they continue to negotiate with the appropriate quarters since Ghanaian students shouldn’t always be at the receiving end.”
“The National Union of Ghana Students appreciates UTAG and SSA-UoG for the patience and sacrifice of their membership towards service rendered to Ghanaian students and the nation at large. We believe strongly that the answers UTAG and SSA-UoG are seeking from the government are for the right reasons,” NUGS stated.
Adding that, “notwithstanding, we disagree with the strike approach, considering its effect on students, especially within the abnormal times we find ourselves in and the earlier obstruction of academic work by the pandemic.”
“UTAG and SSA-UoG must as an act of good faith towards students and the government avoids an entrenched position in all dialogues to address their concerns,” NUGS urged the striking bodies.