President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has described as pleasing, the decision by the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) to call off its strike and return to negotiations.
However, the president says negotiations should not disrupt academic work in the universities.
“All of us are happy that the University Teachers Association has agreed after some long-drawn negotiations to suspend their strike and go back to the negotiating table,” he said when the newly elected executives of the National Unions of Ghana Students (NUGS) called on him at the Jubilee House, Accra on Thursday.
“We are hoping very much that some strong binding arrangement would be finally agreed on by the parties, as there is a roadmap that has been established, and hopefully, both parties stay true to the arrangement and carefully implement it.
“It is in the interest of all of us that there’s no disruption to academic work and that the teachers have the wherewithal to undertake this very important obligation that they have,” he said, confident that the negotiations would be progressive and lead to a solution to the demands of university teachers in the country.
UTAG went on strike last month to register displeasure at the Government’s failure to complete negotiations which started in August 2018 on the conditions of service of the members.
Although the government has met some aspects of the demands of the Association, UTAG insists that a 2012 Single Spine Salary Structure package that placed entry-level lecturers on a salary equivalent of $2,084 should be implemented without fail.
The National Labour Commission deemed the association’s strike action illegal and took legal action to have it end the agitations. Both parties have however agreed to arbitrate the matter, leading to UTAG calling off its 16-day action.
Emmanuel Boakye Yiadom, NUGS President, commended the government for intervening in the UTAG stand-off and getting the Association to return to the negotiation table.
He called on stakeholders in the negotiation to be receptive to the process to find an amicable solution to the demands of UTAG, so that academic work would not be affected in the universities.
“As a Union, we commend our Minister and other government agencies in their ability to get UTAG to return to negotiations. At the end of the day, we will still plead with both parties to take away all forms of entrenched positions such that the negotiation processes would not be prolonged or delayed, ” the NUGS President said.