UTAG commences nationwide strike today

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The University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) has announced a strike action in the country’s public universities, effective today, directing its members to withdraw teaching and related activities.

According to UTAG, the strike action is in response to “the worsening Conditions of Service (CoS) of the University Teacher and the failure of the Employer in addressing the plight of UTAG members within the agreed timelines.”

 

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of UTAG directed the withdrawal of services through a statement it issued at the weekend, following two emergency meetings it held.

Claims & resolve

The leadership of the lecturers’ union “reiterated its resolve to follow through with the decision to withdraw teaching and related activities until further notice.”

“Generally, our members have decried the pittance agreed to be paid as annual research allowance and would want to have government reconsider the payment of a more realistic research allowance as this is critical to our research output, promotion and ultimately national development,” part of the statement read.

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The statement added that the Interim Market Premium (IMP), which was instituted following the implementation of the Single Spine Pay Policy, got frozen, per a Government White Paper, in 2013, for the purpose of the conduct of a Labour Market Survey (LMS) to determine a Market Premium payable to workers deserving of it.

“To date, this determination has not been made, which has resulted in the erosion of the University Teacher’s salary. There was the hope that by completing and implementing the Labour Market Survey (LMS) Report of 2019, a review of the IMP would have put the University Teacher on a relatively good salary stead. Regrettably, the recommendations of the 2019 LMS Report without any accompanying technical report on the implementable MP is meaningless to UTAG as it does not address the pertinent issues of improved CoS,” the statement said.

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It added: “Interestingly, however, there was a LMS in 2014 whose Report did not see the light of day and one wonders if the 2019 LMS Report would ever be implemented since it is already two years old. In addition, recommendation (iii) from the 2019 LMS Report states that “Public Services Commission should liaise with educational institutions to prioritise the offering of courses in areas of demand to increase the employment prospects of their graduates and increase the pool of applicants for high vacancies.”

The lecturers wondered how such a national agenda can be attained “if the CoS of the University Teacher keeps worsening year on year leading to an ever-increasing attrition rate on our campuses.”

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UTAG members see the timing of the release of the report “as one of the usual delay tactics that the Employer has employed over the years, which is unacceptable.”

“As a matter of urgency, we also call on the Employer to restore members to the 2013 IMP of 114% of Basic Salary in the interim whilst Government goes ahead to formulate guidelines to implement the appropriate recommendations to address the CoS of the University Teacher. Following the uneasiness among UTAG members, any delay by the Employer would further exacerbate the already fragile academic calendar to the detriment of all stakeholders,” it added.

 

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