Education

UTAG Notifies National Labour Commission of Strike

Pre-Tertiary Teacher Unions End Two-Week Strike Call for Urgent Negotiations

The University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) has formally communicated their intention to initiate a strike to the National Labour Commission (NLC). This forthcoming strike action is in response to their concerns regarding their working conditions and related issues.

In a formal letter addressed to the NLC, UTAG has outlined several issues that have led to their decision to consider industrial action. These include the stagnation of negotiations surrounding the conditions of service for their members, which has resulted in mounting pressure and tension on school campuses.

Despite UTAG’s diligent efforts to facilitate the conclusion of these negotiations and ensure their implementation by January 2024, they have encountered significant obstacles. The association points out that the government, in particular, has not taken these negotiations seriously, with the Ministry of Finance sending representatives lacking the authority to make meaningful commitments during the negotiation process.

Furthermore, UTAG has identified instances of deliberate distortions in the Memoranda of Agreements (MoAs) by their employers. One such example is the MoA concerning Vehicle Maintenance Allowance (VMA) and Off-Campus Allowance (OCA), where an agreement was made to pay GHS10.99 per liter starting from July 2022. Regrettably, this rate has been subject to misinterpretation and non-payment, with the government inexplicably reverting to a lower rate of GHS6.05 per liter. UTAG argues that the agreed rate of GHS10.99 should have been adjusted in line with the current ex-pump rate, which exceeds GHS 13, indicating a breach of trust and goodwill on the part of the Employer.

Additionally, UTAG has highlighted that an agreement signed on March 3, 2022, allowing universities to pay a portion of the Agreed Online Teaching Support Allowance (OTSA) from their Internally Generated Funds has not been honored by many universities. This situation has left numerous members of the association in arrears or without any payment at all. UTAG views this as a detrimental alteration to their conditions of service and firmly rejects it.

Furthermore, UTAG established the OTSA as a temporary measure to counteract the erosion of their market premium (MP) over the years while the government worked toward implementing the 2021 Labour Market Survey to enhance the MP. However, there has been no progress on the government’s part in this regard, and the market premium continues to erode.

In light of these unresolved concerns, UTAG has given notice that they will embark on a strike after a 21-day grace period. This notification is in compliance with the requirements of the Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651), Section 159, which necessitates written notice to the Employer and the NLC within seven days before the initiation of strike action. The association hopes that this grace period will afford sufficient time to address their grievances and prevent the need for industrial action. Should these concerns remain unaddressed, they will proceed with the strike on the 22nd day from the date of this letter.

 

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