Members of the Tertiary Education Institution Network (TEIN) of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), have threatened to demonstrate by next week if issues concerning the strike by the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) are not addressed.
They contend that the two-week-old strike is adversely affecting students, as many of them have been left stranded.
In an interview with Citi News, the TEIN KNUST President, Theophilus Berchie, urged the government to as a matter of urgency draw a roadmap on how the grievances of their lecturers would be addressed.
“It’s been two weeks now since our lecturers went on strike, and we are actually finding things difficult on campus. We are stranded, and we don’t know what to do. We should have started our exams last week, but it has been two weeks now, and we are still here. So, we are pleading with the government as a whole to calm down and have a mutual negotiation with UTAG. We are giving the government exactly a week, if we don’t hear from the government, we will officially declare a demonstration against the government concerning the strike by UTAG.”
UTAG members have been on strike since the beginning of August 2021 because they want the government to restore the conditions of service agreed upon in 2012 which they said was far better than the current situation.
The 2012 Single Spine package put entry-level lecturers on a salary of $2,084 while the current level puts lecturers’ salaries around $900.
The strike by UTAG has severely affected academic and some non-academic work at the various tertiary campuses.
Out of court settlement
The latest to the impasse is that, the High Court’s Labour Division, 1, advised the National Labour Commission (NLC), and UTAG, to settle the stalemate over their industrial action out of Court.
UTAG, since the declaration of its indefinite strike on August 2, has consistently accused the National Labour Commission of bad faith in serving as an arbiter in the impasse between it and the government.
The Labour Commission declared UTAG’s strike as illegal and went ahead to secure an injunction to stop the association.
It is seeking contempt charges and sanctions against the leadership of the teacher union following the latter’s decision not to call off the strike.
Citi News’ interactions with both parties at various times in the last two weeks have pointed to a breakdown in dialogue, with both parties taking entrenched positions.
But, the Presiding Judge, Justice Frank Rockson Aboadwe, on Monday, August 16, 2021, urged the parties to re-evaluate their positions on the matter and consider returning to the negotiation table.
The court also awarded a cost of GH¢3,000 against UTAG for what the court says was a waste of its time.