A Cue For UTAG

BY all accounts, the agreement struck on Tuesday, between the Ministries of Education, and Employment and Labour Relations and the Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG), which paved the way for the Association to call off its four-month old strike, would be a reference point, in the handling of disagreements with the other teacher unions.

At a meeting which lasted for about two hours, the parties entered into an agreement, ending the protracted strike action which has kept students out of the classrooms, these past months.

Members of POTAG have, since May 15 this year, embarked on the nationwide strike to press home their demand for the payment of their 2013 Book and Research Allowance.

In fact, their action was as a result of the government’s decision to scrap the allowance, and institute a National Research Fund to permanently, address the perennial challenges associated with the payment of the allowance.

Indeed, POTAG was followed by the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) in July, with similar complaints.

As the Times understands it, the resolution of the POTAG strike, therefore, sets the tone for the resolution of the UTAG impasse.

Ordinarily, the government’s decision to pay should have meant the end of the UTAG strike also, but, from the utterances of its President, Dr. Samuel Ofori-Bekoe, it appears more needs to be done to resolve their issue.

The Times is confident the government means well, and has shown a lot of goodwill in addressing the concerns of POTAG; we therefore urge UTAG to take advantage of the opportunity offered, to have its concerns addressed.

We commend the government and POTAG for arriving at a solution, to the delight of not only the teachers, but parents and the students as well.

We believe that the agonising experience and trauma parents and the students have gone through during the four months, would be considered by UTAG, when its leadership sits at the table with the government to resolve their case.

We appeal to UTAG to take a cue from POTAG, call off its strike, and return to the lecture halls to enable the universities to re-open.

The students and parents have suffered enough, through no fault of theirs.  There is no reason for UTAG to prolong its strike action. We need the teachers in the lecture halls, for the sake of Mother Ghana!

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