UTAG asked to remain resolute at negotiation table

The Leadership of the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), Tarkwa branch of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG), has been admonished to seek the welfare of members, particularly on the issue of the  Single Spine Salary Structure.

 According to the Pro-Vice Chancellor, of the UMaT, Associate Prof. Anthony Simon, UTAG should continue to be proactive and remain resolute at the negotiating table at all times to consider the plight of the general membership in every deliberation with the employer.

Speaking on the ‘Challenges of the Single Spine Salary Structure: The case of the university teacher’ at the 20th UTAG Biennial National Delegates Congress held at Tarkwa in the Western Region  Friday, he said to safeguard the health of the SSSS, the Employer should consider the removal of university teachers from it “as a matter of urgency.”

The government, he said, should urgently complete the Labour Market Survey (LMS) and compensate university teachers appropriately, so as to help attract and retain qualified staff.

According to him, at the time of migrating UTAG onto the structure, the group foresaw that the ‘spine’ would create distortions in the future.

He  reported that the  problem of inequities had generated agitations by various labour unions, the recent being  UTAG strike from August 2 to 22, 2021 and its impact on the 2020/2021 Academic Calendar of all public universities in Ghana.

“This agitation has evolved to become a complicated one and presents no easy solution.” he told the delegates.

He said “Following the migration of UTAG members onto the SSSS, Government issued a White Paper on the Market Premium in April 2013, which, in effect, put a freeze on the Market Premium until the Government, the Employer, conducts a Labour Market Survey (LMS).

“This is incongruous to the Memorandum of Understanding signed between Government and UTAG. It is sad to state, that till date, Government has not been successful in conducting the LMS, resulting in the erosion of the salary of the university teacher to deplorable levels.

The 2004-2008 roadmap, Prof. Simons explained, sought to improve the levels of remuneration of the senior members of public universities to a minimum of the cedi equivalent of US$1,500.00 by December 2008, to cover basic salary and various allowances.

The allowances included Professional Allowance (200 percent of the Basic Salary) and non-taxable Special Book Allowance (US$600.00 paid annually).

“UTAG was required to embark on industrial action annually before restoration to the US$1,500.00 could be achieved for a given year. Thus, the expected salary of the university teacher, as per the roadmap, was not achieved.” he added.

The Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, assured that, government was ready to go to the negotiating table to discuss with UTAG the issues affecting their welfare.

He noted that the university was a critical partner in producing Ghana’s human resources to grow the economy.

FROM CLEMENT ADZEI BOYE, TARKWA

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