Education Minister, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, has reiterated that further engagements will be held with the leadership of the University Teachers’ Association of Ghana (UTAG) to address their concerns.
He described the ongoing strike by UTAG as unfortunate and assured that all relevant channels would be used to reach an amicable solution.
Answering questions at a press briefing on Sunday, January 30, Dr Adutwum said “as we did the last time [when UTAG embarked on strike], so it will happen this time around to make sure that we can bring a resolution to this problem.”
“We know that unfortunately, university lecturers are on strike but we’d continue to engage them as to how best we can get them back. As a Minister for Education, I’ve said that I am the chief advocate for teachers and professors.
“When we find ourselves in this space, I do everything possible, formally and informally, front door and back door to make sure that we come to some resolution,” he said.
NLC sues UTAG
The National Labour Commission (NLC) has sued UTAG for failing to comply with the directive to call off its strike. The case is expected to be heard on February 3.
Despite the NLC declaring the strike as illegal, UTAG resolved to carry on, enabling the Commission to seek legal redress in court.
The NLC, among other things, is praying the court forces UTAG to call off its strike as declared by the Commission on January 13, 2022.
UTAG has vowed that it will not call off the industrial action until its demands for improved conditions are met.
UTAG can’t continue negotiating in perpetuity
President of the University of Ghana Chapter of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) says lecturers cannot continue to hold negotiations in futility with the government.
According to Dr Samuel Nkumbaan, the Association since 2019 has held negotiations with government which has yielded no impact.
He said government has continuously held negotiations to cause the Association to suspend their industrial action.
“We have said time and again that we cannot continue to negotiate in perpetuity. We had a one-month moratorium granted by the National Labour Commission that, within this period, get this thing done. How many months down the line?
“September 22, we should have gotten this done by way of negotiation; we have not done that. So what has the NLC done to government that it constantly suspends our industrial action of August last year and go into negotiation within a month, by which time we should have sorted all of these?” he quizzed.
A private legal practitioner, Kofi Bentil says government has been unfair with the university lecturers.
He argued that ignoring the lecturers is not the best way to resolve the matter.
“My suggestion to those running the system is that the court in such mass actions is not necessarily the silver bullet that solves everything; it can solve a number of them. But, ultimately, what will solve this intractable problem is respecting the other party.
“Sit down with them, hear them out and make sure that you meet their demands halfway…but the whole idea of ignoring them surely will not solve this problem,” he said on the current affairs show.