The University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) began an indefinite strike from yesterday, August 2, 2021, over their conditions of service.
In response to a communiqué the UTAG issued on July 30, all its members have complied with the strike, leaving students on the various campuses of country’s public universities in a fix because UTAG members on all the campuses have withdrawn teaching and other activities like examinations, invigilation, marking of examination scripts and the processing of examination results.
The association has been asking the government to restore the conditions of service agreed upon with the government in 2012.
Meanwhile the Ghana Association of University Administrators (GAUA), the Senior Staff Association-Universities of Ghana (SSA-UoG) and the Tertiary and Education Workers Union (TEWU) are said to be involved in the call for improvement in the conditions of service in the public universities.
The Ghanaian Times does not like to go into the details of the demands by the university workers, believing that whatever the issues are, they can be resolved, using other means rather than industrial action.
Therefore, we join those appealing to UTAG to call off their strike in the national interest.
For instance,the National Labour Commission (NLC) has directed both the UTAG and the Senior Staff Association of Universities of Ghana, to call off their strike and appear before the Commission on Thursday, August 5, 2021, urging that, “By law, when you are negotiating or a case is before the commission, and it is being heard, you don’t go on strike.”
The National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) has also appealed to UTAG members to end their strike, explaining that although the demands of UTAG were legitimate, they should reconsider their decision as a “mark of good faith towards students”.
Even though, there are claims that the students are in the revision week and so would not be affected much, we at the Ghanaian Times think otherwise, which is why we have joined the appeal for calling off the strike.
If, as we hear, the strike would persist till the government meets the demands of the teachers, then the students, as well as their parents and guardians, would be worried because every plan put in place before the strike could be derailed.
Imagine revising for an examination you do not know when it would take place.
Even at the University of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa (UMaT), ongoing semester examinations have been disrupted by the UTAG action.
Let’s imagine the disappointment of these students and their fellows on other campuses for various reasons.
If the 2012 reference year stated by UTAG is anything to go by, then we appeal to the government to address all bottlenecks militating against the resolution of the issues, while we appeal to UTAG members to also see which sacrifices they can make to help in resolving the matter once and for all.
Making reference to the statement by the NLC that, “By law, when you are negotiating or a case is before the commission, and it is being heard, you don’t go on strike,” the Ghanaian Times implores the government not to apply excessive legality to delay the negotiations.
Already, COVID-19 has dealt the education system a blow that threatens its smooth progress, so all stakeholders must consider sacrificing to help the situation rather than worsen it.