FWSC to UTAG: Call off strike now

The Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) has called on the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) to immediately call off its strike and return to the negotiation table.

The UTAG on Monday (10 January) began an indefinite strike in response to what it describes as “the worsening conditions of service of the university teacher and the failure of the employer in addressing the plight of UTAG members within the agreed timelines.”

Talking to Kwaku Nhyira-Addo on The Asaase Breakfast Show on Wednesday (12 January), the chief executive officer of FWSC Benjamin Arthur said UTAG is violating the labour laws with the ongoing strike.

“We have given you the opportunity to study the report, give us a feedback, what stops you from bringing alternatives if you find no implementation plan. You are our partners at the workplace, you could easily suggest something…,” he said.

“…So must you go on strike? Now coming back to the pay, trust me every worker in Ghana deserves his or her pay and I wish they are made better, but ability to pay remains a key constraining factor, and you must understand…”

He added: “So I am appealing to them to call off the strike, come, if you don’t want to meet us. National Labour Commission has intervened in the matter, so what is the essence of the strike. So if NLC has intervened, they must obey the labour law and call off the strike.”

Surprise

The Ministry of Education has expressed surprise at the decision by the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) to embark on an indefinite strike.

Speaking to Beatrice Adu on The Big Bulletin on Monday (10 January), the public relations officer of the Ministry of Education, Kwasi Kwarteng said “together with the Finance Ministry, the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations and, of course, all other stakeholders we have been engaging UTAG for months. While we feel that we have been taken by surprise, we also believe that at the end of the day, leadership ought to be demonstrated. 

“We have never said that those concerns raised by UTAG are not valid. We know that when we talk about market premium it is a subject that is non-negotiable.”

Meanwhile, the National Labour Commission (NLC) has summoned the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission and the University Teachers Association of Ghana to appear before it on Thursday “for a hearing of the issues in dispute.”

UTAG has for some time now been demanding the implementation of a 2012 Single Spine package which put entry-level lecturers on a salary equivalent of US$2,084 while the current level puts lecturers’ salaries around US$900.

Fred Dzakpata

Gh Extractives

Ghextractives.com is an independent multimedia portal that seeks to provide credible information and news content to readers especially players in the extractive sector in Ghana, Africa and beyond. It also provides a unique platform for players in the energy sector to market their products and reach a wider audience

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