UTAG hit with GH¢3,000 fine over legal procedure by Labour Court

The Labour Court in Accra presided over by Justice Frank Rockson Aboadwe, has awarded a cost of GH₵3000 against the striking University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) over breach of legal procedure.

The court slapped UTAG with the fine on Monday, August 16 following the inability of lawyers of UTAG to comply with Section 20 (14) of the rules that govern their application before the court.

The court convened to hear an injunction application brought against the teacher union by the National Labour Commission (NLC) over UTAG’s ongoing strike, which has led to a halt in writing the end of semester exams in public universities across the country.

However, the hearing could not proceed due to UTAG’s inability to complete its processes, as the lawyers told the Court that they had hoped the elaborate processes could be exempted, given the urgency of the situation.

A lawyer for UTAG, Keli Delataa, moved the application for the court to set aside its earlier order as per an ex-parte application, but the counsel for NLC objected to the move.

The NLC argued that the exhibit counsel for UTAG was relying on to move his application has not been certified as per order 20 (14).

According to the NLC, that section is instructive in nature, and therefore the application was not properly before the court.

He prayed the court not to allow UTAG, the applicant, to move the application.

Counsel for UTAG, in his response to the objection, said every document they have attached to their processes has been stamped by the registrar of oath.

Justice Aboadwe after listening to both counsels said it was minded not to strike out the case but gives UTAG an opportunity to come properly. The court explained that the provision in the said section was mandatory and ought to be fulfilled.

To this end, the lawyer of NLC asked the court to slap a GH₵10,000 cost against UTAG on grounds that, the case is of public interest.

Lawyer of UTAG though agreed that NLC deserves some cost, offered to give GH₵500.

Justice Aboadwe subsequently awarded a cost of GH₵3,000 in favour of the NLC.

The case has since been adjourned to Thursday, August 19, 2021.

Court urges parties to settle matters amicably

The court prior to adjourning the matter beseeched the parties to settle the matter at hand, pointing out that both parties could do so if possible before the next court sitting.

On their part, the parties indicated to the court they were committed to that effect.

Meanwhile, an application for contempt against the leadership of UTAG has been served on them and that case is expected tomorrow.

The Commission on Friday, August 6, secured an interlocutory injunction from the court to compel UTAG to call off their strike which started on Monday, August 2, 2021.

UTAG has, however, refused to comply with the order, indicating that the premise was false.

The NLC said that UTAG could not remain on strike amid negotiations with the government, but UTAG insisted that there was currently no active negotiation between them and the government.

UTAG subsequently filed a motion to set aside the injunction.

The UTAG strike                                                                    

The nationwide strike by UTAG 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 commenced about two weeks ago, leading to a halt in academic work.

UTAG argues that the 2012 Single Spine package put entry-level lecturers on a salary of $2,084 while the current level puts lecturers’ salaries around $900, and wants that resolved by the government.

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.

Universities call off exams

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 the University Teachers Association of Ghana (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.

Part of a statement issued by the Registrar, Emelia Agyei-Mensah, stated that the university has adjourned the resumption of school for level 200 and level 300 batches for the second semester.

Adding that the university, though it remained open, academic activities would resume when services were restored.

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

Announcing the call off of exams to students, the Deputy Registrar in charge of Academic Affairs at the KNUST, Margaret Dzisi, said, a new schedule for the examinations will be released at the appropriate time,” and apologised for any inconvenience caused.

READ ALSO: We Are Not Scared Of Your Tactics – UTAG’s Prof Gyampo To NLC

1 Comment
  1. Kofi says

    Now, the official currency in Ghana is the US dollar. MPs car loans is in dollars. University teachers salaries are pegged against the dollar. Let’s make it official so everyone will think in dollars then. Our deputy health minister was claiming we are a sovereign country. By the way, is the court to issue civil warrants for the teachers to be arrested and sent to the lecture halls?

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