POTAG Calls Off Strike … After Reaching Agreement With Gov’t

Pro Naana Opoku Agyemang and Mr James Dugurah signing the agreement. Photo Lawrence Markwei.The Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG) yesterday called off its almost four-month strike action, after two days of marathon discussions  with the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations.

The meeting, which was hosted by the Employment ministry, had the entire executive of POTAG present, and was witnessed by Mr. George Smith-Graham, Chief Executive of the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission, and Prof. Mahama Duwiejua, Executive Secretary of the National Council for Tertiary Education.

After the end of a lengthy discussion on the issue, all the stakeholders including the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Haruna Iddrisu, Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, Minister of Education, Mr George Smith Graham and Prof. Duwiejua appended their signatures to the communiqué to abide by its terms.

In the communiqué, government, reaffirmed its decision to pay the Book and Research Allowance which has been the basis of the misunderstanding under the existing arrangement for the 2013 – 2014 academic year.

The parties, according to the communiqué, resolved to ensure that payment of the allowances commenced with immediate effect and were to be completed by the end of the 2014 fiscal year.

It said the NCTE had already commenced the process leading to the payment of the allowance, and it would be paid by using the average Bank of Ghana exchange rate for 2013 and 2014.

The communique also asked the FWSC to engage POTAG and the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) on the Book and Research Allowance in line with the Single Spine Pay Policy, taking note of the government’s policy to establish a National Research Fund.

Mr. Haruna Iddrisu, in an addendum, said the government by way of agreement, was also serving notice that the Book and Research Allowance would be replaced with the National Research Fund in the near future.

He said by way of understanding, it would be negotiable under the platform of the Collective Bargaining Agreement with both UTAG and POTAG for the fund to take off.

Mr. James Duagh, National President of POTAG, in response to the issue raised, said the entire executive had agreed in principle with the arrangement made so far, and, therefore, called off the strike.

He indicated, however, that the association’s congress was the appropriate platform to declare that the strike action had ended.

Mr. Duagh said membership by arrangement, would immediately convene at the Accra Polytechnic to officially declare that the strike had ended.

By Lawrence Markwei

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