Technical university teachers continue strike

BY: Caroline Boateng and Edward Acquah, ACCRA
Matthew Opoku Prempeh- Minister of Education
Matthew Opoku Prempeh- Minister of Education

The Technical University Teachers Association of Ghana (TUTAG), is continuing with its sit-down strike since September 12, 2018.

The association says it is awaiting commitment by the government in writing to resolve its grievances about conditions of service.

The union is also at odds with the National Labour Commission (NLC) because it claims that as an impartial arbiter, the NLC was unable to compel the Minister of Education, Mr Opoku Prempeh, to attend an arbitration sitting of all parties which was called by the commission on August 30, 2018.

Sit-down

The Chairman of the Accra Technical University (ATU) Chapter of TUTAG, Dr Ibrahim Zubairu, explained this in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra last Tuesday.

He said while the Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education, Prof. Kwesi Yankah, had appealed to them to resume work, they could not because it was merely an appeal, with no promise of the resolution of their grievances.


Dr Zubairu said it was also disappointed in the NLC for declaring the strike illegal.

He said the union had notified the commission about their intended strike on August 29, 2018 and the NLC had invited them for arbitration on September 12, 2018.

“We decided to hold on until the meeting with the NLC that Wednesday. However, we were more than distraught when we arrived at its offices and were told by a messenger that the meeting had been cancelled,” Dr Zubairu said.

He said their investigations revealed that the ministers did not make it to the meeting and that it was a smack in the face of TUTAG that a messenger of the commission was the person sent with the message that the meeting had been cancelled.

“The NLC, by that action, did not act in good faith with us,” he stated.

Genesis

Dr Zubairu explained that the grievance of TUTAG boiled down to a lack of a scheme of service, in conformity with the status of some technical institutions which were changed to universities in 2016.

Previously, lecturers were on conditions of service linked to the Technical Colleges Act, but the change brought about a new statute that also had to bring about new schemes of service.

Dr Zubairu said a post-conversion staff audit and schemes of services were some of the changes that had to be initiated by the government, agreed to by the governing boards of the technical universities and passed for lecturers to be clear about their work and benefits.

However, since 2006, even before the conversion of the colleges into universities, the government had not been straightforward with technical college lecturers in ensuring that the right things were done.

Strike

A statement by the National Executive Committee of the TUTAG declaring the strike, which was signed by its General Secretary, Mr Joseph Danso, said the Ministry of Education and the NLC had shown “gross disrespect” to their request for the resolution of grievances.

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