NLC directs UTAG, govt to engage… asks CETAG to call off strike

The National Labour Commission (NLC) yesterday directed the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) and the government to engage further on the concerns of the association that has led to the ongoing strike.

It was, however, unclear if the commission asked the UTAG to call off the strike as the UTAG representatives and the government officials at the meeting declined to comment on it when they interacted with journalists afterwards.

The government was represented at the meeting by the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, and Deputy Minister of Finance, Abena Osei-Asare, while UTAG was represented by Dr Solomon Nunoo and other executives.

In a brief interaction with journalists after the over two-hour meeting, Mr Baffour-Awuahsaid the Commission gave the assistance that the government would adhere to the guidelines for the resolution of the matter.

Mrs Osei-Asare said the government expected that UTAG would comply with the directives given by the Commission to lay the matter to rest and prevent further disruption of the academic calendar.

Dr Nunoo on his part said “It was their (panel) considered opinion that the strike was illegal, but we (UTAG) thought otherwise. So as at now, we are going to see our constituents and see the way forward.”

On the concerns of UTAG that led to the strike, he said the panel said it was legal and though “we have a case, we should sit with our employers and talk a little more. They have said it that we should meet again so we would meet again”.

The meeting, which was initially scheduled for Wednesday, was therefore to consider the legality or otherwise of the industrial action that has hindered academic work in all public universities nationwide since Monday.

It was also expected to discuss the conditions of service demanded by UTAG, failure of the stakeholders to stick to an earlier agreement, and consider the hearing of the substantive issue according to Ghanaian Times sources.

The university teachers have been on strike since Monday to drum home their demand for the government to restore the conditions of service agreed upon in 2012/2013, which pegs the salary of an entry-level lecturer at $2,084.42.

 According to the association, the decision was taken due to the failure of the employer to address the plight of UTAG members within the agreed timelines despite several assurances.

The action had left students in public universities across the country stranded, with many of them urging the government to address the concerns of their lecturers so they would return to the lecture halls.

In a related development, the NLC has directed the Colleges of Education Teachers Association of Ghana (CETAG) to call off their strike and the government asked to pay all allowances due the members of the association.

 The Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Bright Wereko-Brobbey, assured that the government would pay the allowance since they were featured in the 2022 budget.

The CETAG has been on strike since last Thursday over the failure of the government to implement the conditions of service agreed uponbetween 2017 and 2020.


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