Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Tuesday October 12, 2010
The mounting labour unrests popularly in the country in recent times do not appear to be ending anytime soon, as more groups join the strike action.
In a spate of two months the President John Evans Atta Mills-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) government has had to deal with numerous labour unrests from civil and public servants over the Single Spine Salary Structure to junior nurses and now it is the turn of the academia and taxi drivers.
Currently the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) is on indefinite strike and as if that was not enough the Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG) has also joined the fray saying they have totally withdrawn their services starting from yesterday with taxi drivers in Winneba embarking on sit down strike.
POTAG in a news release issued in Accra on Thursday jointly signed by Godfred Abledu, National President and Anthony Ayakwah, General Secretary had said “we observe regrettably that since September 1, 2010. Efforts made though the National Labour Commission (NLC) to get Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) to negotiate POTAG’s condition of service had proved futile.”
The release said “it is sad to note that the NLC has lost focus on this issue saying “while we are asking for negotiation on our conditions of service, the NLC is talking about job evaluation and re-evaluation. These are two different things.”
According to POTAG, the substantive issue is about negotiation of their condition of service which expired in December 2008 and discussion on unresolved issues in the conditions of service of POTAG which could not be since 2006.
The release said POTAG embarked on a sit down strike on September 1, 2010 and suspended it on September 15, 2010 because the FWSC which had initially refused to negotiate their conditions of service agreed to negotiate with them.
POTAG regretted that the goodwill and trust exhibited by FWSC and the NLC on September 15, 2010 were abused saying “we have lost confidence and can no longer trust NLC.”
The release warned that they were going to hold an emergency meeting at Koforidua and added that “The leadership of POTAG will therefore not hesitate to allow its members to embark on a nationwide protest to register their displeasure about the inaction of the two commissions.”
When contacted by telephone yesterday Mr. Abledu said “POTAG after the emergency meeting has resolved to withdraw our services until the government meets our request for improved condition of service.”
Meanwhile, UTAG has said it could return to the lecture halls in the next 48 hours if the payment of the first installment of their salary arrears as agreed with the Government is done.
The likely suspension of the strike follows appeals made to UTAG by the association of Vice Chancellors-Ghana and the Fair Wages Commission.
The two bodies had promised to impress on the government to ensure that the Lecturers are paid their first three months arrears today and UTAG says that would be the only basis upon which they would return to the lecture halls pending payment of the entire arrears per an agreed payment plan.
UTAG president Dr Kwasi Ohene Yanchera told an Accra-based radio station that the payment of the first installment will only guarantee a suspension of the strike and not a total call off.
UTAG’s reason for the strike is to push for the restoration of the actual value of the entry-level salary of the university teacher, as agreed upon in the government-UTAG ‘salary road map’ in 2008 and payment of arrears for the restoration of the value of the entry level salary of the university teacher from January 2009 to the present.