The Civil and Local Government Staff Association, Ghana (CLOGSAG) yesterday made history by calling off its strike to demand better conditions of service just hours after embarking on it.
A statement issued by the association said the decision followed a review of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between government and the association.
CLOSSAG, therefore, directed all members to resume work on Monday, January 24 this year.
The Ghanaian Times hopes the CLOSSAG attitude would speak to the Colleges of Education Teachers Association of Ghana (CETAG) and University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) to back down on their ongoing industrial actions not because they have no justifications but in the interest of those they serve first and foremost, who are students, and second in the interest of society.
While it is their right to demand what is due them, it is the appeal of the public that they should be considerate in their demands, bearing in mind that state resources may be limited in meeting all their demands in full, so if things turn out that way, they should be prepared to make sacrifices by accepting offers that are not insulting though, but reasonable.
This is important because both students, especially freshmen, and parents are seriously praying that their grievances would be resolved for them to come back to the classroom in good time in order not to disrupt the academic calendars of the affected public universities and colleges.
This is not the time to pinpoint to anyone the various and varied effects of strikes by different institutions and groups on particular individuals and the larger society because such are obvious to the various stakeholders.
This is the time to appeal to clear conscience for entrenched positions to give way to reflection and decisions for the public good.
However, while appealing to the striking teachers of institutions of higher learning to rethink their action, the Ghanaian Times wishes to call attention to the attitude put up by public officials given the mandate to handle matters bordering on workers’ conditions of service.
These officials can always give the best of reasons to defend their actions but sometimes, they are guilty of negligence of duty.
What prevented the relevant government agencies and the Labour Minister, for instance, to invite UTAG and CETAG to the negotiating table when they threatened to embark on industrial action?
The CETAG on December 14, 2021 announced its decisionto embark on a strike from January 5, 2022 if the government did not do anything about an MoU signed on September 24,2021 concerning their conditions of service by December 31.
As for UTAG, it has issues dating back to 2013, whereas the CLOSSAG announced its intended action on January 12, this year.
Sometimes their actions are mere flexing of their muscles, which makes the workers go on strike to bare their teeth.
Why did the National Labour Commission (NLC), for instance, on January 13, 2022 declare the CETAG and the UTAG actions illegal after a meeting of the two unions and the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations? No strike is illegal once strikes are allowed in law.
What the Ghanaian Times expected was for the NLC to rather encourage the members of UTAG and CETAG to go back to their lecture theatres and save the students and their parents the anxiety and restlessness when the Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Bright Wireku Brobbey, assured them that all the allowances due them had been captured in the 2022 budget to be paid this January.
The two unions are still on strike in defiance of the NLC order, when it could have used a respectful way to get them to work since they would be paid even for the month of strike.
The Ghanaian Times, therefore, appeals to all stakeholders to avoid entrenched and provocative positions and do the needful to have all parties use the negotiating table for redress for all workers to contribute to national development.