Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Friday September 3, 2010
Polytechnic lecturers have begun what they call “a nationwide sit down strike with immediate effect.”
The parent body, Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG) says the lecturers are embarking on the industrial action because “the government has refused to negotiate for their conditions of service.”
In a telephone interview with Daily Guide, National President of POTAG Godfred Abledu confirmed the strike action and said the government has not listened to them since their conditions of service expired in 2008.
He said “we had an emergency meeting early this week in Koforidua over the issue of our conditions of service and we have unanimously resolved withdraw our services to press home for improved conditions of service.”
Mr. Abledu said the polytechnic lecturers will not return to the classrooms until their demands were met.
“We are embarking on the sit down strike. Academic activities are suspended but administrative activities will go on,” he said.
He said “we are meeting the National Labour Commission over the issue and if nothing positive is heard from them then we will start a proper strike.”
“What we are doing now is just to draw the government’s attention to the plight of polytechnic teachers but if they refuse to negotiate with us for improved conditions of service then we will start the real strike.”
He said “our conditions of service have not been the best. Nobody listens to us.”
The POTAG President said “my predecessors worked so hard to get the negotiations on track but they were not listened to. Since I took this position in December 2008, I have written series of letters to our employers but they are still refusing to negotiate with us,” adding we do not understand why our employers are refusing to negotiate with us.”
He explained the strike was not indefinite, adding a meeting with the Labour Commission will determine whether the strike will be an indefinite one.
He also dismissed assertions that the strike will not yield the needed results since the polytechnic students are on vacation and cautioned the government against exploiting the vacation situation to buy more time.
When contacted for their comment, Mohammed Affum of the National Labour Commission said POTAG has not notified the commission about their intention to go on strike.
He said “I also heard it in the media that POTAG is embarking on a sit down strike.
The petition we received from them did not indicate that they were going on strike.”
“We have written to them and other stakeholders for a meeting next week.”
Registered about 10 years ago as a labour union, POTAG has over 1000 members scattered all over polytechnics in the country.