Friday, July 09, 2010

UTAG strike

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By William Yaw Owusu

Feiday July 9, 2010
The University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) has withdrawn their services with immediate effect.

A news release issued in Accra yesterday and signed by UTAG President, Dr. Samuel K. Asiedu-Addo said “following our earlier resolution of June 24, 2010, and the subsequent press conference on June 25, 2010, and in view of the fact that the book and research allowances have not been paid as of July 7, 2010, UTAG hereby resolves and declares to withdraw all its services pending payment of the book and research allowances into the individual accounts of members.”

It said the government's failure to engage the UTAG in discussion for a review of the book and research allowances that has become necessary as a result of escalating cost of research materials, journal and professional association's subscription fees, publication fees was the reason behind the industrial action.

The release further said the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission has failed to respond to outstanding issues raised by the UTAG including the different mode of job progression for academic Senior Members of public universities and the results of the job re- evaluation exercise.

“For several years UTAG has appreciated and understood the difficulties that the government has had to contend with when it comes to dealing with competing demands from various interest groups. For that reason, the Association has cooperated well with the government and has, at an enormous cost to its members, refrained from making unnecessary and incessant demands.”

“Even where circumstances have dictated so, UTAG has avoided hitting the press to ¬publicise its justifiable grievances. In fact the association has chosen the path of constructive engagement with Government in dealing with its grievances,” it said.

The release said the government's recent responses to the concerns raised by the UTAG about the conditions of service of its members “have given the impression that the government has equated the Association's policy of constructive engagement to weakness and gullibility.”

“In particular, UTAG has noted with dismay the government's contemptuous disregard, to concerns raised about the difficulties that it has, over the years, encountered in engaging Government on the following issues”

The release said “the chronic delays in the payment of book and research allowances each year and the government's failure to pay pension contribution on part of the Lecturers' salary that is hedged in the professional allowance,” are also part of their decision to stay away from the lecture halls.

“UTAG would also like to use this opportunity to urge Government to address all other outstanding issues pertaining to the conditions of service of members of the Association.”

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