Go past NLC, Fair Wages and deal directed with UTAG – Nortsu-Kotoe tells gov’t

A Ranking Member on the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education, Peter Nortsu-Kotoe has suggested to the government to stop dealing with the Universities Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) through the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission and the National Labour Commission (NLC).

He said the government must deal directly with UTAG in order to resolve the issues that have resulted in the strike.

Mr Nortsu-Kotoe told TV3 that the universities will have to shut down if by next week the issues have not be resolved because per statutory requirements, twenty days after inactivity should lead to a closure of the institutions.

If that happens, he said , it will disrupt the academic calendar.

“By end of this week or next week and there is no solution to the issue the universities will have to close down . Because by statutes after 21 days of inactivity the university authorities will close down the university for students to go back home.

“It is not good for us because it is going to disrupt the academic calendar of the public universities.

“I will advise government that they should not rely on NLC and FWSC , they should engage them directly and they will find the soltuion to this problem.”

UTAG members have been on strike since Monday January 10. This was as a result of the failure of the government to resolve their issues.

A statement they issued on Saturday January 8 said “We must also point out the fact that, generally our members have decried the pittance agreed to be paid as annual research allowance and would want to have government to reconsider the payment of a more
realistic research allowance as this is critical to our research output, promotion and ultimately national development.

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“For the reasons stated above, the NEC of UTAG at its meeting held on 7th January 2022 reiterated its resolve to follow through with the decision to withdraw teaching and related activities until further notice with effect from Monday, 10th January 2022 and call on all UTAG members across the fifteen (15) branches to observe this directive.COMMUNIQUE-UTAG-STRIKEDownload

“As a matter of urgency, we also call on the Employer to restore members to the 2013 IMP of 114% of Basic Salary in the interim whilst Government goes ahead to formulate guidelines to implement the appropriate recommendations to address the CoS of the University Teacher. Following the uneasiness among UTAG members, any delay by the Employer would further exacerbate
the already fragile academic calendar to the detriment of all stakeholders.”

The statement further said that “It may be recalled that the Interim Market Premium (IMP) which was instituted following the implementation of the Single Spine Pay Policy got frozen, per a Government White Paper, in 2013, for the purpose of the conduct of a LMS to determine a MP payable to workers deserving of it. To date, this determination has not been made, which has resulted in the erosion of the University Teacher’s salary.

“There was the hope that by completing and implementing the Labour Market Survey (LMS) Report of 2019, a review of the IMP would have put the University Teacher on a relatively good salary stead. Regrettably, the recommendations of the 2019 LMS Report without any accompanying technical report on the implementable MP is meaningless to UTAG as it does not address the pertinent issues of improved Condition of Service (CoS).

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“Interestingly however, there was a LMS in 2014 whose Report did not see the light of day and one wonders if the 2019 LMS Report would ever be implemented since it is already two years old. In addition, recommendation (iii) from the 2019 LMS Report states that “Public Services Commission should liaise with educational institutions to prioritise the offering of courses in areas of demand to increase the employment prospects of their graduates and increase the pool of applicants for high vacancies.”

“How can such a National Agenda be attained if the CoS of the University Teacher keeps worsening year on year leading to an ever-increasing attrition rate on our campuses? UTAG members see the timing of the release of the report as one of the usual delay tactics that the Employer has employed over the years, which is unacceptable.”

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana