Gov’t, UTAG Honeymoon Ends

-University Teachers To Reactivate Strike Over Gov’t Bad Faith

The University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) has accused the government of bad faith in its ongoing negotiation of the conditions of service for lecturers and has threatened to reactivate their nationwide strike.

In an update to its members, its leadership said the government has been toying around with their issues and taking advantage of their magnanimity and patience.

“UTAG would also like to draw the Employer’s attention to the fact that its members are not “strike happy”. However, we would have no option than to resume the withdrawal of teaching and related services on our various campuses if the Employer fails to approach and address our concerns frontally,” the update said.

UTAG and the government have been in negotiations over improved conditions of service and had been persuaded to call of their two-week strike on 18th August when the Association suspended its strike.

The main subject of the negotiation has been UTAG’s demand that government restore the entry-level salary of lecturers to US$2,084.00 instead of the current US$997.00.

The negotiation started after the NLC secured an order from the court asking that UTAG abandon its strike and go into a mandatory 30 days negotiation over its demand.

A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was reached and/or signed between UTAG and the government to reopen negotiations on the Conditions of Service (CoS) of UTAG members. The roadmap of the MOA required the parties to reopen and complete negotiations within one month, covering specific items assented to by the parties.

However, UTAG is accusing the government of reneging on the 30-day window of negotiations and thus a renewed interest to go on strike nationally.

“The National Executive Committee (NEC) of UTAG wishes to inform its members that while every effort is being made to reach an amicable resolution, real results have not been achieved yet due to the actions and inactions of the Employer,” an update from UTAG’s leadership said.

It added that “The key concern of UTAG is the restoration of the salary of entry point of a lecturer to the 2012 levels, which stood at the cedi equivalent of US$2,084.00 and has presently depreciated to less than US$997.00 per the prevailing exchange rates. During this round of the negotiations, the Employer indicated to UTAG that it could no longer negotiate the Interim Market Premium and Non-Basic Salary Allowance.”

According to UTAG in what they described as bad faith from the Akufo Addo administration, the administration was only interested in negotiating the Research component of the Book and Research Allowances (BRA), “which is a clear breach of good faith on the Employer’s own commitment.”

According to the UTAGE leadership, it still obliged, but even that, the government started showing disinterest.

“As a sign of magnanimity on the part of UTAG, the Association still went ahead to negotiate for the Research component of the BRA. However, that also did not yield any tangible results. It is important to indicate that UTAG has been overly generous by shifting its position substantially and even given ample time for the Employer to do the needful,” UTAG explained.

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