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NLC threatens to slap UTAG with contempt charge for defying court order

The National Labour Commission (NLC) has threatened to slap the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) with a contempt charge for defying a court order to suspend its ongoing strike.

The executive secretary of the commission, Ofosu Asamoah, said “the NLC will take UTAG back to court to seek compliance, as well as seek punitive actions against them”.

UTAG, on Monday, August 2, 2021, began a nationwide strike over what they say is the government’s refusal to heed their calls to improve the university teachers’ conditions of service, including research allowances and salaries.

The government had said it was confident the concerns of the association will be resolved. However, negotiations failed when both sides showed no commitment to back down on their demands.

The NLC, after a meeting, asked UTAG and the Senior Staff Association of Universities of Ghana (SSA-UoG) to end their nationwide strike but they refused.

On Friday, August 6, the commission secured an interlocutory injunction from an Accra High Court to compel UTAG to end the industrial action. The injunction is to last for 10 days.

But UTAG stood its grounds, insisting they will not return to the lecture halls until the government addresses their concerns.

“If the court has spoken and the party decides to defy the orders of the court, the best thing is to take the person back to court. We will be citing them for contempt, so if the court finds them guilty of contempt, then the court will apply the sanctions it wants,” Mr Asamoah reiterated.

Meanwhile, the University of Ghana (UG) and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) have suspended indefinitely, their end of second-semester examinations.

The suspension of the exams by the two universities is because of the ongoing industrial action by UTAG.

At a Business and Executive Meeting held on Friday, August 6, the Management of UG resolved to terminate the end-of-semester exams for first and final-year students.

“The Business and Executive Committee of the University of Ghana at its meeting of 6th August 2021, decided to postpone the upcoming Level 100 and Level 400 second semester 2020/2021 academic year examinations due to the ongoing strike actions,” part of a statement issued by the Registrar,” Emelia Agyei-Mensah read.

In addition, the university has adjourned the resumption of school for level 200 and level 300 batches for the second semester.

The university also noted that though it remained open, academic activities would resume when services were restored.

Similarly, KNUST has called off the end of semester exams for students.

“It is announced for the information of all students and staff that due to the ongoing strike by UTAG, the end-of-semester examinations originally scheduled for Monday, 9th August 2021 to Friday 20th August 2021 have been temporarily suspended until further notice.”

This was contained in a statement issued on Friday, August 6, by the university and endorsed by the Deputy Registrar in charge of Academic Affairs at the KNUST, Margaret Dzisi.

Mrs Dzisi added that a new schedule for the examinations will be released at the appropriate time,” and apologised for any inconvenience caused.

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