UTAG, SSA-UOG kickoff strike action after govt failed to uphold conditions

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Effective Monday, 2 August 2021, the University Teachers Association (UTAG) is expected to commence an intended industrial strike action.

Members of UTAG have been asked to stay off teaching, examinations, and invigilation, marking of examination scripts, and processing of results until further notice.

A statement issued by the NEC, and jointly signed by UTAG National President, Professor Charles Marfo, and the National Secretary, Dr. Eric K. K. Abavare said members on the various campuses ought to comply with this directive.

The decision to embark on an industrial strike, according to the NEC was borne out of the government’s refusal to heed calls by the association to improve the worsening conditions of service of the university teachers.

It said the association was not happy at the way the authorities had been dragging their feet on negotiations concerning the welfare of the teachers.

While UTAG embarks on its strike action, the Senior Staff Association, Universities of Ghana (SSA-UOG) is also expected to, effective today embark on strike action over similar concerns.

In a statement, the group said the government failed to “respect and fulfill the agreements between both parties at different intervals.”

The association also accused the government of “contemptuous and total disregard to the National Labour Commission’s (NLC) directives on January 28, 2021, upon hearing from both parties to resolve all our concerns within a three-month stipulated period, which also regrettably elapsed on March 31, 2021, repugnantly.”

It sad “all members of the Senior Staff Associations across all the 16 public universities in Ghana (SSA-UOG and FUSSAG) are required to lay down their tools until further notice.”

A few days ago, the association declared a strike on 18 May 2021, to compel the government to pay its members’ tier 2 pension contributions and also demanded the award of market premium and non-basic allowance, as well as the finalization of negotiations of the members’ conditions of service but later froze it upon the intervention of the National Labour Commission and the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC), threatened a worse form of its earlier industrial action if the government did not fulfill the promises it made which prompted the group to suspend the strike on 11 June.

An earlier statement signed by Mr. Zakaria Mohammed, National Chairman, said, at the 12th National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held at the University of Cape Coast on 9 and 10 July 2021 respectively, the Senior Staff Association Universities of Ghana (SSA-UoG) discussed and resolved the following:

1. The inability of the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) to communicate feedback on our counter-proposal to the government by Wednesday, 7 July 2021 as promised;

The SSA-UoG suspended its strike action on 11 June 2021 on the promise of commitment by the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission with Vice-Chancellors Ghana (VCG) as guarantors to completely resolve and conclude all outstanding issues on the negotiation table from 30 June to 19 July 2021.

Since the last negotiation meeting on 30 June 2021 on our counter-proposal to the government, the FWSC was to secure the needed mandate and communicate feedback to SSA-UoG.

This has since remained a mirage and it is creating agitations, fear, and panic among our rank and file because there have been similar illusive promises in the past that never saw the light of day.

2. Computation of interest on Tier 2 and roadmap for payment;

The government requested SSA-UoG to submit names of its technical team to work hand in hand with the government technical team on the computation of interest on the outstanding Tier 2 Pension Contributions Arrears paid by the Government. As requested by the government, SSA-UoG has since submitted names of its technical team to the government on 30 June 2021 which has since not been acknowledged.

It is our fervent belief that the government has acted in bad faith.

3. Interestingly enough, the National Labour Commission (NLC) in all the above infractions being perpetrated against SSA-UoG and its loud silence on their part as a statutory body is not only worrying but also very shocking, as it is seen as an arbiter grounded in law.

4. The National Executive Council of SSA-UoG has resolved to resume full strike in the unlikely event that the government fails to meet the deadline as promised and agreed upon by all parties.

We, therefore, direct all the 14 public universities of SSA-UoG to keep themselves in readiness for a full-blown strike as resolved by NEC.