The University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) has expressed concerns over the government’s laidback posture in addressing the key issues facing its members in the current negotiations that seek to improve their conditions of service.

In a letter addressed to all UTAG branches dated September 22, 2021, and signed by Professor Charles Marfo (National President) and Dr Eric K.K. Abavare (National Secretary), the National Executive Committee of UTAG says while every effort is being made to reach an amicable resolution, real results have not been achieved yet due to the actions and inactions of the government.

The leadership explained that the key concern of UTAG is the restoration of the salary of entry point of a lecturer to the 2012 levels which stood at the equivalent of US$2,084.00 and has presently depreciated to less than US$997.00 per the prevailing exchange rates.

The letter disclosed that the government, at this point of the negotiations has indicated that it could no longer negotiate the interim Market Premium and Non-Basic Salary Allowances. Rather, the government was only interested in negotiating the Research component of the Book and Research Allowances which is a clear breach of good faith on the government’s commitment.

UTAG says it went ahead to negotiate for the research component of the Book and Research Allowance and that also proved futile.

The Association, however, threatened to resume the withdrawal of teaching and related services on the various campuses if the government fails to approach and address their concerns.

UTAG, therefore, directs its members to remain calm as the leadership continues to work for their good and the next line of action.

Background

The University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) has suspended its strike which started in August 2021 and has also agreed to return to the negotiation table following an emergency meeting, its leaders had with the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations and the National Labour Commission (NLC) on Wednesday, August 18, 2021.

Both parties [Government and UTAG] have also resolved to discontinue the legal processes concerning the protracted strike and have given themselves a one-month timeline to settle all outstanding issues.

A Memorandum of Agreement had been signed by the government and UTAG and after the meeting noted that “both parties agree that there is a need to get back to the negotiating table from the week beginning Monday 23rd August 2021.”

During the period, government and UTAG will among other things negotiate the research component of the Book and Research Allowance, market premium, and non-basic allowance.

Evans Awaitey

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