Thursday, 18 April

Expect more industrial strikes if you fail to implement our agreement on conditions of service come 2023 – UTAG to gov’t

According to UTAG, despite, the several engagements with the employer and the NLC, aimed at resolving the ongoing empasse, no meaningful results have been achieved yet

The University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) has called on the Employer and the National Labour Commission (NLC) to be more proactive in expediting discussions to resolve their concerns in order not to disrupt the 2022/2023 academic calendar.

According to UTAG, despite, the several engagements with the employer and the NLC, aimed at resolving the ongoing empasse, no meaningful results have been achieved yet.

In a statement issued following its 2-day meeting, at the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR), Sunyani, Bono Region, which ended on Tuesday, 29 November 2022, to discuss critical issues of importance, UTAG made the following resolutions.

1. The industrial action must continue unabated. However, all essential services listed by the various local unions and branches of the Association, must continue to remain outside the purview of the strike action.

2. There have been several engagements with the Employer and the National Labour Commission (NLC) with the view to resolving the ongoing impasse. Nevertheless, these have yielded no meaningful results. We, therefore, call on the Employer and the NLC to be more proactive in expediting discussions to bring closure to the industrial action, in order not to destabilise the 2022/2023 academic calendar.

3. Government must be serious in its Base Pay negotiations with Organised Labour. Given the current inflation and economic miserisation of the ordinary Ghanaian worker, UTAG fully supports the proposal for Base Pay and relativity increase of 60 and 2 percent, respectively, and call on all Labour Unions in Ghana to remain resolute in supporting leadership in the fight for living wage and better Conditions of Service.

4. UTAG review of the 2023 Budget Statement points to a unilinear imposition of more austerity measures that are likely to negatively impact the already impoverished public sector worker. We support the several calls for downsizing of Government as a show of sacrifice in an attempt to restore economic stability.

5. We are mindful of the impact of industrial harmony on productivity, and it is our utmost desire to maintain industrial peace in order to boost productivity and increase our work quality. We urge the Employer and other policy makers to also cherish same values of respect and commitment to agreements signed, that produces industrial harmony among labour unions.

In this regard, we wish to remind Government about its agreements already reached with UTAG, to review the Single Spine Salary Structure, implement the 2019 Labour Market Survey Report and other key interventions to improve theConditions of Service of our members beginning 2023.

 These agreements reached have been signed and are not subject to renegotiation in any form or shape. We call on the Employer to prepare for their implementation in January 2023 as already agreed. We warn or serve notice that there would be more industrial action from our members, and the ranks of other labour unions, should Government fail to adhere to its own agreements with us, and/or appreciate our magnanimous proposals and recommendations.

6. We appreciate the difficult conditions that led to the delays in the payment of the 2021/2022 Book and Research Allowances (BRA) but call on the Employer to put measures in place to ensure that this does not recur. We also call on government to use prevailing exchange rates in determining payment of future BRA.

7. The straight-jacket announcement of a freeze of employment in the public sector should not apply to public universities, as lecturers are already over-burdened with ever increasing student numbers. Considering the fact that most public universities did not receive clearance to employ additional staff in 2022, the expected increase in enrolment for the 2022/2023 academic year, and the introduction of new programmes to meet the developmental needs of the country, the logical step is to grant employment in the public universities.

8. We discussed the over-bearing posturing of the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC), and, in particular, the unwelcoming conduct of some of its officials. UTAG would resist any attempt to unnecessarily subsume the management of public universities under the GTEC.

9. Finally, we call on our members to remain calm, and to trust that the NEC and leadership of our Association are working to champion their utmost interest.

UTAG together with three worker unions in the public universities of Ghana have been on a sit-down strike since Monday, 17 October 2022, to demand better conditions of service.

Source: Adiku