The University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) has formally notified the National Labour Commission (NLC) of their intention to go on strike.
This planned strike arises from concerns over their conditions of service and other related issues.
In a letter addressed to the NLC, the association stated that the negotiations on the conditions of service of its members have remained stagnant. This has created undue pressure and tensions across school campuses.
UTAG indicated that they made diligent attempts to facilitate the conclusion of these negotiations and ensure its implementation in January 2024, but all efforts have failed. “Most importantly, the Employer/Government does not take the negotiations on our CoS seriously, and the Ministry of Finance, in particular, continues sending representatives with no effective mandate and authority to make commitments during the negotiations,” UTAG added.
The association also noted among other things that there have been deliberate distortions of aspects of Memoranda of Agreements (MoAs) by their employers.
One of such is the MoA signed on Vehicle Maintenance Allowance (VMA) and Off-Campus Allowance (OCA) where it was agreed they would be paid GHS10.99 per litre from July 2022. “…this has since been subjected to deliberate misinterpretations and non-payment. Although arrears have been paid on the GHS10.99 per litre, ironically the government has reverted to paying GHS6.05 per litre. Indeed, the GHS10.99 rate should have been reviewed by now because the current ex-pump rate is over GHS 13. This smacks of bad faith and trust on the part of the Employer,” UTAG noted
Additionally, UTAG stressed that although there was an agreement signed on March 3, 2022, to allow universities pay a component of the Agreed Online Teaching Support Allowance (OTSA) from their Internally Generated Funds, the schools have not honoured that agreement.
“To our dismay, many universities are in arrears, and some have not paid at all. We see this as a variation in our conditions of service to our disadvantage, which we reject,” UTAG stated.
“In addition, the OTSA was introduced as a stopgap for the erosion of our market premium (MP) over the years while the government took measures to work towards implementing the 2021 Labour Market Survey to improve our MP. There has been no show from the government side in this regard, and our MP is continuously eroded.”
UTAG noted that should their issues continue to remain unresolved, they would embark on a strike in 21 days.
“In compliance with the requirements of the Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651) Section 159, which requires either party intending to take strike action or institute a lockout to give written notice to the other party and the Commission within seven days, we are by this letter, magnanimously giving notice to the Employer 21 days as a grace period to address the above-listed concerns of UTAG, or we will proceed immediately on strike on the 22nd day from the date of this letter.”