UTAG strike giving Ministry, others sleepless nights - Spokesperson
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Education, Kwasi Kwarteng says the Ministry and other stakeholders are doing all they can to resolve the ongoing strike by the University Teachers Association of Ghana, UTAG.
The indefinite strike to back demands for better working conditions is three weeks old, and Kwarteng says it is giving the Ministry a lot of sleepless nights as strenuous efforts are made to resolve the matter and get lecturers back in their lecture halls.
UTAG) directed its members to withdraw teaching and related activities with effect from Monday, 10th January, 2022 until further notice, in response to “the worsening Conditions of Service (CoS) of the University Teacher and the failure of the Employer in addressing the plight of UTAG members within the agreed timelines.”
But speaking on Joy News Monday, Kwasi Kwarteng said there can be no question of whether the authorities are worried by the desperate situation on the various campuses where students are on their own in the absence of lecturers.
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“We are more than worried looking at the situation in our various campuses. We have our brothers and sisters on various campuses, of course one would have expected that they had access to their lecturers while they continue with their academic activities. So, if you look at the number one person who is really suffering a headache, a very huge headache from what is happening it’s the Minister for Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum.
“I can confirm to you that we have had a lot of sleepless nights in our attempt to resolve this issue. I can also confirm that there are a lot of engagements behind the scene both official and unofficial not only from even the Minister of Education's end but largely even from government. Of course I have been in meetings where the Employment and Labour Minister has had to have some form of engagement, of course, I mean all geared towards addressing the concerns of UTAG.”
He said the efforts were ongoing and that they were still talking to get UTAG and government to go back to the negotiation table and ultimately get the lecturers back to the classroom.
“So yes, the situation is very worrying, it's something that we wish had not happened. We call it a very unfortunate situation but at the end of the day, we just need to demonstrate leadership and get all parties on board”, he told Joy News’ Aisha Ibrahim.
Kwarteng while appealing to the striking lecturers, also pointed to due process, saying that no matter how legitimate the concerns of UTAG may be, it should be managed carefully.
“If you recall recently, the National Labour Commission ruled that the party should get back to the negotiation table whilst we continue to negotiate. Of course, the laws are clear, you are unable to negotiate while you are still on strike. So yes, we also appeal that, at least, our professors of law, our lecturers, our teachers also give some level of cognisance to institutions like the National Labour Commission, that have also made such rulings on the case. Of course with the whole aim that they are able to resolve what is happening.He said nobody is benefiting from the strike as at the end of the day, “students are losing, lecturers are losing, government is losing and I'm not sure that's how we want our education system to be run.”