Government has been urged to honour promises it makes to lecturers to prevent brain drain in Ghana’s education sector.
This advice was given by the newly-elected National President of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG), Professor Solomon Nunoo on Friday, October 1, 2021.
Prof. Nunoo said this in a Citi News interview after the swearing-in of the new leadership of UTAG during a UTAG National Congress held at the University of Mines and Technology in Tarkwa.
“Currently, UTAG has been at the negotiating table for a while with the government talking about conditions of service. At the end of the strike, when we suspended all activities, we actually made demands on about four items. Basically, we talked about the market premium, non-basic allowance, the research allowance and asked government to consider whatever means possible it can to improve the lots of university teachers. We have said time and again that a lot of our young ones are leaving our fold and joining the exodus train, and we think it’s important that government listens to what we have been saying.”
The National President of UTAG also urged the government to ensure that timelines for negotiations are met to prevent young lecturers from travelling abroad.
“When it comes to the basic salary, it is also something that is pending. Government has told us time and again that, they want to have a consultation meeting with all labour unions come April 2022, but we want to see real action taking place. We are not too sure, and we don’t believe much when government tells us they can do the Labour Market Survey. That is where our worry strongly lies. Though government has said that they are going to get the Labour Market Survey done, come the ending of this month October 31, 2021, we are of the firm belief that it seems government has not even kick-started the processes. These things are normally done by the Ghana Statistical Service, and they are currently working on the population and housing census, so it’s our fear that government again come December 31 will not be able to honour it.”
“At this point, we are requesting of government to make do with their statement they have made both in MoU’s they have signed with us and also at the negotiating table. We believe that’s the only way that we will be able to carry our members along. The labour market survey will help to improve the welfare of UTAG members“, he added.
Pro-Vice-Chancellor of UMaT, Prof. Anthony Simons, who was the guest speaker at the 20th UTAG Biennial National Delegate Conference at UMaT spoke on the Challenges of the Single Spine Salary Structure: The Case of the University Teacher.
Prof. Simons while making proposals for a better Single Spine Salary Structure for a motivated University lecturer said the current state of the salary levels of University Teachers is problematic and requires urgent attention.
“The present salary disparity between Articles 71 and 190 officeholders is too wide and efforts must be put in place to close the gap as recommended in the Prof. Yaa Ntiamoah-Baidu Presidential Committee on Emoluments Report. To safeguard the health of the SSSS, the Employer should consider the removal of University Teachers from it as a matter of urgency or government should urgently complete the LMS and compensate university teachers appropriately so as to help attract and retain qualified staff”, he said.
Prof. Simons encouraged UTAG to continue to be proactive and remain resolute at the negotiating table.
“At all times, remember to consider the plight of the general membership in every deliberation with the Employer. But let me caution you here; when success comes, do not go to sleep as in the past”, he added.
The newly elected national executives of UTAG at the national congress in Tarkwa includes Dr. Akyene Tetteh as Treasurer, Dr. Asante Annor as Secretary, Dr. Eric Wiah as Vice President and Prof. Solomon Nunoo as National UTAG President who would be working for 15 universities for the next two years.