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The leadership of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) has asked members on the various campuses to resume academic work immediately, pending the final outcome of its deliberations with the government on its grievances.
That, it said, followed the suspension of its industrial action started on August 2, this year.
“So far, so good. Everybody supports the suspension and I have followed up with a statement to all of its branches on the various campuses to suspend the industrial action with immediate effect,” the President of UTAG, Professor Charles Marfo, told the Daily Graphic yesterday.
He said the National Executive Committee (NEC) of UTAG met last Thursday and took the decision to suspend the strike and that all it needed to do was to inform the various campuses about its suspension.
The Daily Graphic understands that while all the branches agreed and voted for the suspension of the strike, the University of Cape Coast branch dissented.
The branch, the only dissenting voice from the 15 branches of UTAG, said its constituents wanted some concrete figures from the government before they could agree to suspend the strike to begin negotiations.
The branch said it found the basis for the NEC’s suspension of the strike action unclear.
The Chairman of the UCC UTAG, Dr Samuel Boadi-Kusi, said the constituents demanded something more tangible from the government to work with before any suspension.
He said the constituents he represented were of the belief that the government had not given enough reason or commitment for them to trust further negotiations for which the strike should be suspended.
Dr Boadi-Kusi added that the branch was going to issue a formal statement on the stance it had taken.
In spite of the dissent, the majority decision binds all branches.
In a statement to its branches, UTAG said a government team, represented by the Ministries of Employment and Labour Relations, and Education on one part and UTAG, represented by the national officers and presidents or their representatives of the various branches on the other, met last Wednesday to deliberate on the present strike by UTAG and the way forward.
Parties at the meeting agreed to a road map to complete all issues related to the negotiations on the conditions of service of UTAG members within a month from Monday.
The road map agreed to by the parties was an important condition for the suspension of the strike action and for the National Labour Commission (NLC), which had injuncted the strike as illegal, to discontinue the legal action.
“In view of this development, we write on behalf of the National Executive Committee of UTAG and in consultation with members, to announce the suspension of the withdrawal of teaching and related activities by members with immediate effect to pave the way for the negotiations to commence.
“We urge all members to have faith in leadership as we work to improve our conditions of service,” the statement, jointly signed by Prof. Marfo and the National Secretary, Dr Eric K. K. Abavare, said.
It further urged all members to comply with the outcome and act accordingly.
Members of the UTAG started a sit-down strike on August 2, this year to demand a restoration of their 2021 salary levels and improvement in their conditions of service.
The Senior Staff Association of the Universities of Ghana (SSA-UoG) also went on strike to press home similar demands but called off the action after the first week.
Following the declaration of the strike, the NLC directed the associations to call off their actions but UTAG refused, thereby compelling the commission to proceed to the High Court to seek an injunction to stop the university teachers from continuing their action.
Not satisfied with the action of the commission, the association filed a motion at the same court to challenge the order to call off its industrial action.
Both the NLC and the association were in court last Monday where the presiding judge advised them to endeavour to settle the matter out of court.
When the case was called last Thursday, the Labour Division of the Accra High Court struck out the suit filed by the NLC after the commission decided to stop pursuing the case.
The decision paved the way for UTAG and the government to return to the negotiation table to resolve the dispute per the road map outlined in the MoU.