The Technical University Teachers’ Association of Ghana (TUTAG) yesterday began a nationwide strike action, despite an order from the National Labour Commission (NLC) for them to suspend the protest.
The industrial action followed unsuccessful efforts to get their employers to address their poor conditions of service as well as the frustrations the technical universities go through in attaining accreditation for academic programmes.
Vivian Arthur reports from the Accra Technical University (ATU) that teaching and learning were taking place despite the strike action.
Students were seen in lecture halls studying while others were seen seated under shades glancing through their lecture notes.
The Public Relations Officer of ATU, Mrs Foster Kilian Ganaa Kodua, told the Ghanaian Times, the university had not received any communication from TUTAG chapter at the university.
“We’ve not received any official letter from TUTAG here indicating that they are embarking on strike and so for now as you can see, teaching and learning is ongoing here at ATU,” she stated.
According to her, even if they were to be affected by the strike action, it would not be severe since the university had instituted a blended system of learning and teaching where some students study online.
Ama Tekyiwaa Ampadu Agyeman, reports from the Eastern regional capital, Koforidua that academic work at the Koforidua Technical University (KTU) did not come off when the Ghanaian Times visited the university.
Some students were seen loitering about while others sat in groups to study on their own.
A student, Dorcas Mawulo, called on government to quickly resolve the issues to enable their lecturers to return to the classroom.
At the Kumasi Technical University (KsTU) campus, a handful of students were spotted loitering around without academic work.
Reporting from Kumasi, Faustina Kwabea Osei, said gates to the university entrance were covered with red clothes embossed with TUTAG.
The local Secretary of the Technical University Teachers Association of Ghana (TUTAG), Dr Abubakar Zakari, was not sure as to when the National Executives would meet the NLC but was hopeful that, meeting the commission within the week would ensure some of their grievances resolved.
According to Dr Zakari, difficulties by the Technical Universities in securing accreditations for academic programmes, issues surrounding their Tier Two pension, unfair scheme of services and poor conditions of service were all challenges they faced that needed not to be overlooked by the government and other stakeholders.
Some of the students described it as a blow to academics in general as final year students had been anticipating completing school in August or September.
Samuel Akapule, reports from Bolgatanga that academic activities at the Bolgatanga Technical University (BTU) were halted following the nationwide sit down strike declared by members of the Technical University Teachers’ Association of Ghana (TUTAG).
The Bolgatanga Technical University chapter chairman of TUTAG, Oswald Atiga, explained that since the conversion of the eight polytechnics in 2018 and the recent conversion of Bolgatanga and Wa polytechnics into Technical Universities, members of the Association still worked under the polytechnic structure of conditions of service.
This, he described as unfair and said the association on numerous occasions engaged the government to address the issues but all efforts proved futile.
The chairman noted that although academic work would be adversely affected especially when the strike action prolongs, however, it was also imperative for the government to address their concerns.
In a response to the directive by the NLC to call off the strike, Mr Atiga explained that the Association had followed all the laid down procedures of the Labour Act 651 in embarking on the strike action and the seven-day notification.
Instead, he stated, the NLC relied on an unsigned leaked letter that was issued by the National President of TUTAG to members last week.
FROM Ho, the Volta Regional capital, Alberto Mario Noretti reports that Ho Technical University (HTU) suddenly turned into ‘ghost town’ when the lecturers withdrew their services yesterday, to back their demand for renewed service conditions in solidarity with other members of the Technical University Teachers Association (TUTAG).
The striking lecturers, however, continued to take part in the supervision of students’ project work and research.
Some students who turned up for lectures met no lecturer in the classrooms.
A source told the Ghanaian Times yesterday that the students could stay on the campus in the interim.
“It is only when the strike action goes beyond three weeks that the students will be asked to leave the campus,” it said.
FROM SUNYANI, DANIEL DZIRASAH reports that the story was no different at the Sunyani Technical University in the Bono Region.
Dr Samuel Yeboah Asuamah, President of the Bono Chapter of TUTAG, told the Ghanaian Times via telephone that they had withdrawn their services, pending the outcome of the government’s decision on the matter.
Mr Richard Boahene, a student, told the Ghanaian Times that he was hopeful that government would immediately resolve the issue for the academic calendar to resume.
BY TIMES REPORTERS