Technical universities teachers’ strike: TUTAG, govt in crunch meeting
Students of the technical universities have been rendered hopeless, as the indefinite strike declared by their lecturers and administrators begins to bite hard.
Three unions — the Technical University Teachers Association of Ghana (TUTAG), the Technical Universities Administrators Association of Ghana (TUAAG) and the Technical Universities Senior Administrators Association of Ghana (TUSAAG) — declared the industrial action to drive home their demand for improved conditions of service to match the status of their institutions as public universities.
A visit by the Daily Graphic to technical universities across the country yesterday revealed an air of despondency among the student body, as the lecture halls had been shut, while administrative work had grounded.
While some of the students had already gone back home, others were roaming aimlessly on the campuses, contemplating going home, as there was no hope in sight that the strike would end any time soon.
Accra Technical University
At the Accra Technical University (ATU), only a few Higher National Diploma (HND) and undergraduate students were seen on the campus.
However, the Diploma in Business Studies students were not affected by the TUTAG strike, reports Severious Kale-Dery.
Members of TUSAAG and TUAAG were resolute in their position not to return to their offices until the government addressed their concerns.
The Local Chairman of TUSAAG, Mr Prosper Agumey, said the association would not respond to any call by the government for negotiation “because the structures are clearly spelt out and there is no room for negotiation”.
“Until our issues are 100 per cent addressed, we are not ready to meet anybody; no negotiation. They have done partial migration and so we want full migration, starting from December 2018 and not August 2019, which is even partial,” he told the Daily Graphic in his office yesterday.
For his part, the Local Chairman of TUAAG, Mr Victor Worlanyo Gbedawo, explained that after an emergency national meeting of the association, it was decided that the strike should take off last Monday, October 21, 2019 to press home the demands.
He said the main concern of the association had to do with lack of communication between it and the government agencies tasked with the mandate to smoothly migrate members to the level of public universities.
He explained that the market premium for TUAAG members remained 76 per cent, instead of the 114 per cent that was given to their counterparts in the public universities.
Kwadwo Baffoe Donkor reports that academic work on the campus of the Kumasi Technical University (KsTU) has come to a halt.
The situation has been made worse by the decision of senior administrators to also lay down their tools to demand better conditions of service.
A visit to the campus by the Daily Graphic saw most of the students loitering, with some occupying themselves in group discussions, trying to make use of the ‘free’ time at hand.
Others were also seen playing basketball on the newly renovated court.
Some of the students said they tried to occupy themselves by reading and trying their hands on a few practical lessons.
Two first-year students, Kelvin and Paa Kwesi, said they had high expectations when they gained admission to study at the KsTU but were now disappointed and a bit lost “because we do not know what the future holds for us”.
Aside from the strike disrupting the academic calendar, they said, it had also brought about extra financial burden on their parents, as they would need extra resources to complete school when the strike was finally called off.
Sunyani Technical University
Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah reports from Sunyani that the strike had left students of the Sunyani Technical University (STU) in a quandary.
The campus was quiet, without the usual hustle and bustle, as most of the students had gone home, while the few in town were in their hostels.
“The entire students are not happy. If you go to our Whatsapp group platforms, that is the topic we are all discussing,” Kingsley Adjei, a final-year student, told the Daily Graphic.
Some first-year students also said the strike had affected them, since they were yet to grasp the basics of their respective programmes.
When reached for his comments, the President of the STU Chapter of TUTAG, Dr Samuel Yeboah Asuamah, said the lecturers had already made their grievances known to the government and the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission to give them the same conditions of service pertaining in other public universities.
“We are not ready to resume work until our grievances are addressed,” he stated
For his part, the President of the STU Chapter of TUAAG, Mr George Abisah Blankson, said members of the association began their strike yesterday following a directive from their leaders.
A visit to the Tamale Technical University (TaTU) saw the campus virtually empty, writes Mohammed Fugu.
The few students around expressed worry about the strike, lamenting that there had not been any effective academic work for the past two weeks.
They, therefore, appealed to the government and the relevant stakeholders to, as a matter of urgency, address the concerns of the lecturers in order for them to call off the strike.
When contacted, the President of the TaTU Chapter of TUTAG, Mr Virgil Nbellah Abedana, said they would not be pressurised into calling off the strike until the government addressed their concerns.
"We were supposed to have a meeting with the relevant stakeholders in Accra today [Tuesday] to reach an agreement on the matter, but we got there and they said the meeting had been postponed to tomorrow because all the stakeholders were not present," he said.
From Sekondi-Takoradi, Dotsey Koblah Aklorbortu reports that the campus of the Takoradi Technical University (TTU) was quiet yesterday when the Daily Graphic walked through it.
Some of the students were seen in groups discussing the way forward.
The TUTAG started the strike on October 7, 2019, while TUSAAG joined on October 18, 2019.
Some of the students said their only fear was that the strike could result in a change in the academic calendar.
The Local President of TUTAG, Mr Peter Awini, said the strike was the last resort, since they had served notice on several occasions, to no avail.
Some students of the Ho Technical University (HTU) have called on the government to have a fruitful dialogue with their lecturers for them to resume teaching, Mary Anane-Amponsah writes from Ho.
It has been three weeks since the TUTAG strike began and students are frustrated.
In an interview, Paul Komla, a final-year student, said he had been badly affected by the strike because he was supposed to have meetings with his project supervisor.
Ibrahim Yusif, another final-year student, said all his mates had gone back home because there were no lectures and that he would also go home by the end of this week if the strike was not called off.
In an interview, the Volta Regional Secretary of TUTAG, Mr Stanley Glate, said the association would have a meeting with key stakeholders yesterday to decide whether to call off the strike or not.
Shirley Asiedu-Addo writes from Cape Coast that the campus of the Cape Coast Technical University was quiet and that only a few students were seen in the lecture halls studying on their own.
Most of the offices were also locked.
A student, Salamatu Yakubu, said the situation was affecting the academic calendar.
A few of the administrative staff around said they were on the campus to conduct personal business.
“We want them to know we mean business. If we work, nobody will mind us,” one of them said.
Meanwhile, the Vice-Chancellors of Technical Universities, Ghana (VCTU-G) has called on the government to expedite action on staff demands to restore harmony to the academic calendars of the universities.
The association, in a press statement signed by its Chairman, Rev. Professor John Eshun, said it had observed with worry the effect of the strike on the students and the academic calendar of the technical universities and appealed to the government to resolve all issues for work to resume.
The VCTU-G also appealed to the workers to resume work as negotiations with the government continued.
At the Koforidua Technical University (KTU), academic and administrative work was at a standstill, reports Pacome Emmanuel Damalie.
The Vice-President of the Students Representative Council (SRC), Mr Bless Richard Agyei, said the strike would have a negative effect on the academic calendar.
"In view of the strike, management has written to us (SRC) that the academic calender will be affected. We face the possibility of students going on vacation in December and returning in January to take our examination before going back on break again and returning on February 10," he said.
He further said the SRC, together with other technical university SRCs, was collaborating with the stakeholders to make sure the issue was resolved.