A Senior Lecturer at the University of Ghana Prof. Ransford Gyampo believes the Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta sees issues with regards to the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) as trivial.
According to him, after UTAG decided to go back to the classroom and allow for their leaders to negotiate with the needed stakeholders, the Finance Minister has never attended any of their meetings.
He said Ken Ofori-Atta always delegates power when he is supposed to be a party to whatever agreement is met at the negotiation table.
Read His Full Statement Here
Your Excellency Nana Akufo Addo, I greet you. Your Excellency Alhaji Dr Bawumia, I greet you too. As you may be aware, some of us have deliberately been quiet about what has been happening following UTAG’s decision to temporarily suspend its strike and return to the negotiations table.
We believe the stakeholders needed some peace of mind to talk. I however wish to respectfully remind you that the one month negotiation period expires in five days time. Unfortunately, as of now, nothing concrete has been achieved.
As you may be aware, some of us had to practically beg our members to agree to suspend the strike action for negotiations because we knew that you were both worried about the impasse and were very much resolved to bring finality to the matter.
Unfortunately, I repeat, nothing concrete has been achieved. I am told, much of the issues have to do with your Finance Minister, who is still not attending meetings himself, but delegating, probably, because he sees UTAG matters as trivial.
He may continue to treat us like rags, but when there is mobilization of the anger of University Teachers in a manner that creates a praetorian situation, the bucks would stop with you in dealing with the mess.
I respectfully urge you to intervene in this matter yourselves. For, no one can contain the anger of University Teachers should they be allowed to strike again, after the expiration of the one month negotiation period. A simple survey on the various campuses would give a sense of how bitter and angry they are, for the disrespectful manner in which they have been treated over the years.
The UTAG, on August 2, 2021, began an industrial action over what it said was the failure of the government to restore the 2012 salary levels of its members.
Also, UTAG members were on strike 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.
However, the NLC secured an interlocutory injunction from an Accra High Court to compel the UTAG to return to work.
The association remained defiant over the 10-day injunction and last Monday, it said it had filed a counter-motion against the injunction.
Suspension of Strike
With the intervention of the President and Vice President, members of UTAG suspended their strike action and signed a memorandum.
The resolutions reached that convinced the teachers to go back to the classroom including:
1. That both parties (Government and UTAG) agree that there is a need to get back to the negotiating table from the week beginning Monday, August 23, 2021.
2. That a road for negotiation, as agreed at previous consultative meetings between the parties, which imposes a one-month mandatory period beginning 23rd August 2021 for negotiations, shall be signed by both parties;
3. That whilst the Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations in conjunction with the NLC is taking steps to discontinue all legal processes against UTAG, UTAG will also take steps to suspend the ongoing strike action;
4. That government acknowledges the need to improve the working conditions of University Teachers and shall treat this will all the seriousness it deserves