Strike: Government and UTAG to engage further after meeting NLC

The Government and the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) are to engage further to resolve the industrial action embarked upon by the Association.

Members of UTAG started a nationwide indefinite strike on Monday January 10, to demand better conditions of service.

The National Labour Commission (NLC) on Thursday met with Government officials and the National Executive Members of UTAG to resolve the impasse.

Briefing journalists after the two-hour meeting, Dr Solomon Nunoo, the National President of UTAG, said the NLC advised the Association to sit down with the employer and “talk a little more.”

He said the NLC held the opinion that the industrial action was illegal, but the Association argued otherwise.

He said the Association would meet its constituents on the way forward.

Dr Nunoo was, however, silent on whether or not UTAG would call off the industrial action after meeting the NLC.

“They (NLC) believe that the concerns we raised are legal, we have a case. But they believe that we should sit with our employer and talk a little more,” he said.

When asked if the NLC issued a roadmap to guide its negotiations with the Government, Dr Niunoo said: “I haven’t seen any roadmap. What they have said is that we should meet again so we will meet again,” he said.

Mr Ignatius Baffuor Awuah, Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, told journalists after the meeting that the Government would act on the guidelines issued by the NLC to resolve the impasse.

He, however, did not indicate what constituted the guidelines or the next line of action of the Government.

“The Commission has advised us on the way forward so we will revert,” he said.

The NLC also met with executives members of the Colleges of Education Teachers Association of Ghana (CETAG) over their industrial action, which started on Thursday, January 6, 2022.

The strike was declared after an emergency meeting by the CETAG National Council over the failure of Government to implement the conditions of service agreed upon between 2017 and 2020.

Mr Bright Wireko-Brobby, Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, told journalists after the meeting that the NLC had directed CETAG to call off the industrial action “immediately.”

He said the Government had agreed to pay all allowances due members of CETAG, and expressed confidence that the Association would comply with the NLC directive.

“We have assured them that whatever allowances due them, because they have been captured in the 2022 Budget, January they are going to be paid. Therefore, the Commission has directed that they go and call off the strike immediately,” he said.

The Executive members of CETAG, however, declined to talk to the media after the meeting.

In a press statement issued on Saturday, January 8, 2022, UTAG said the indefinite strike was necessitated by Government’s failure to address the worsening conditions of service of lecturers.

It said the Government also flouted the agreed timelines to address their concerns.

The statement called on the Government to, as a matter of urgency, restore members to the 2013 Interim Market Premium of 114 per cent of Basic Salary in the interim.

It also urged the Government to formulate guidelines to implement the appropriate recommendations to address the conditions of service of the university teacher.

Evans Osei-Bonsu

Evans is a radio producer @PureFM (95.7MHz) under the Angel Broadcasting Network (ABN Ghana), writer, student of Law and Politics at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).

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