The Ashanti and Northern Regional chapters of the Technical University Teachers’ Association of Ghana (TUTAG), says their strike action is still in full force despite the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission’s release that it has migrated them unto public universities pay structure.
During a Citi News visit to the campus of the Kumasi Technical University, lecture halls were locked while students were seen loitering around.
Speaking to Citi News, the Ashanti Regional Chairman of TUTAG, Ing Andrews Danquah says the rates given by government are far lower than what other public universities are receiving.
He added that the release also did not address issues on their arrears.
“TUTAG is still on strike because the decision to go on strike was that of congress. So until all the chapters meet, nobody, not even our national executives can call off the strike. We are billed to meet on Thursday at congress where we will review the situation and communicate to the country but as at now, we do not think that our issues have been addressed.”
Meanwhile, the students who are the most affected by the ongoing strike, have called on government and their lecturers, to find a better way of resolving the matter.
Some of them made the following remarks:
“If the government says that it is a listening government it should do what the lecturers are requesting from it. I am also begging the lecturers to come and let us write the exams for three weeks so that they can go back and settle everything with government otherwise things are affecting us and we don’t know what our goals are going to be in this state”.
“As we are here, teaching and learning is not going on and we also have an examination which was supposed to start last week but it couldn’t come on. So, as it stands now, we are all hanging around having nothing to do”.
“The strike is affecting us and they are always postponing the date of the exams and we can’t even learn because the day you think you are going to have the exams then they postpone it. It is really making our studies slow so they have to do something about it”.
Meanwhile, checks at the Tamale Technical University reveals TUTAG members are also still observing the strike action declared last week by TUTAG over government’s failure to fulfil its promise of migrating technical University lecturers onto the public universities’ salary structure.
According to the chairman of the Northern Regional chapter of TUTAG, Abedana Virgil, they will not call off the strike until Congress meets on Thursday to decide on the way forward.
He further expressed disappointment in the National Labour Commission saying it is not true that TUTAG has failed to submit data for payment.
“We think that the NLC is not being fair to us by their own second ruling. How can you give a ruling, one party has abided by it another party has not abided by it, the time has expired and instead of you to invoke the necessary sanctions per your own act, you decide to invite us to another hearing without any of the other two parties–either TUTAG or government appealing their earlier ruling –they decided to invite us again to give another ruling. So, is it a review of their earlier ruling or this is somehow a first ruling of their case.”
So we don’t even know which of them we are supposed to be talking about now. They have just been disingenuous because the issues they have been throwing on the airwaves that we have not submitted our data, that is the one that they requested on the 30th of December but the one they requested earlier on the 15th or 16th of December we did that submission. So, what prevented them from paying the people that they were supposed to pay? They only selected a few, paid them and left the rest”.
This comes on the back of an announcement made by the Greater Accra Regional Chapter of the Technical University Teachers Association of Ghana (TUTAG) that they plan to return to work today [Monday] regardless of the stance of its national executives.
“The national executives have the prerogative to speak on behalf of the union… but for me, I am waiting on them until [Monday morning]. If they don’t, I will let Accra [TUTAG] start work,” the Greater Accra Regional Chairman of TUTAG, Dr Ibrahim Zubeiru, told Citi News.
Announcement by FWSC
The Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) today, January 13, 2020, said it has completed the migration of senior and junior staff of the technical universities from the polytechnic single spine grade structure to the appropriate grade structure of senior and junior staff of public universities.
The Commission says the migration has been approved for implementation accordingly following a letter dated 8th January 2020, signed by the Commission’s Executive Secretary, Dr. Edward Kwapong, and addressed to the Finance Minister.
The letter said the Commission noted that responsibility and entertainment allowance were illegally paid to non-office holding senior and junior staff in the past without being consolidated.
This, it said is illegal and has been stopped.
In the same manner, it noted that cashier allowance and duty allowance have also been dropped after being consolidated under the single spine structure, while drivers’ allowance paid previously to drivers of rectors has also been scrapped.
TUTAG declared an indefinite strike on January 6, 2020, in protest of the non-payment of allowances due its members following the conversion of polytechnics to technical universities.
The association was upset that the government did not comply with a ruling by the National Labour Commission (NLC) to ensure that members of the association started receiving allowances due them from December 2019, January 2020 and February 2020.
Technical Universities Administrators Association of Ghana (TUAAG) also joined the strike demanding full benefits of migration onto the public universities’ salary structure.
But on January 10, the NLC directed the association to call off its strike.
The directive followed a meeting between the Commission, TUTAG, the Ministries of Finance, Education, Employment and Labour Relations, Fair Wages and Salaries Commission and the Controller and Accountant‘s General’s Department.
The Commission assured that the government would be working to migrate their qualified members to the single spine pay structure and pay them their allowances by January 29.
The NLC also directed that:
- That six (6) out of the eight (8) Technical Universities who submitted their data to the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE_) will be paid their salaries together with the allowances 29th January 2020.
- That the two technical Universities (Sunyani and Tamale) who are yet to submit their data should do so latest by 17th January 2020 to enable the government to pay their salaries and allowances at the end of February 2020.
- The Commission also directs that with this intervention, the TUTAG shall call off their strike with immediate effect and return to work.
- The parties are strongly advised to continue negotiation on the outstanding issues in good faith.