Gov't failed to respect rule of engagement during negotiations on CoS- UTAG

The University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) has raised issues against the government’s failure to cooperate with them to complete negotiations on its Conditions of Service (CoS), which started in August 2018.

According to UTAG, although some progress has been made in some respects, the key areas at the core of their CoS have seen no progress and It appears there is no end in sight whilst members continue to wallow in worsening economic conditions.


It is instructive to note that the few times UTAG has had to meet Government over the negotiations of its CoS, Government has always failed to respect the Rules of Engagement signed between the two parties to guide the negotiations, specifically, the full complement of key Government officials who could be described as having locus and, for that matter, capable of
committing Government into any serious discussion are always absent, UTAG said.

It is in the face of this exhibition of bad faith and abysmal progress made in the negotiations that we find ourselves here today. For emphasis, the progress made so far is abysmal and, indeed, nothing to write home about.

In a press statement, UTAG said “Ladies and gentlemen, UTAG finds this lukewarm attitude of Government as worrying and frustrating, hence, the need for this press conference to inform the public of the unfair treatment against UTAG. UTAG wishes to state clearly that the Association is not in any way seeking to make anybody or institution unpopular as some narratives, unfortunately, seek to portray.

“Rather, all we seek to do is to let the public and everyone else understand that UTAG members have been left to wallow in worsening conditions of service for far too long and that we deserve some meaningful attention.

“Here is a brief account of how low UTAG members have fallen in terms of their CoS over the years. In 2003, upon a recommendation by a Standing Joint Negotiation Committee (SJNC), Government accepted a five-year (2004-2008) roadmap for improvement in the levels of remuneration for senior members of the public universities in
Ghana.

“At the end of the road map in 2008, the monthly entry point salary of the Lecturer was USD1,500 payable in Cedi equivalent. Per the agreement of the five-year roadmap, general increases in salaries in subsequent years would apply to the USD1,500.

“Also, with the advent and subsequent implementation of the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) policy for public sector workers in the country, in the negotiations that ended in January 2012, an Interim Market Premium (IPM) was fixed at 114% of the basic salary and this led to a Lecturer being paid the Cedi equivalent of USD 2,084.41 from January 2012. It is important to note that the 114% of the basic salary was determined to ensure that the gains made with the SJNC in 2003 would be sustained.


Ladies and Gentlemen, one key element in the implementation of the SSSS was the fact that no employee was to be made worse off with the new pay regime. Nevertheless, the academic senior member has become worse off following the implementation of the SSSS pay policy. At the beginning of 2020, the entry gross salary (i.e., Basic plus Market Premium) of a lecturer in the public universities was USD997.84 (GHC5,687.66) far less than the USD1,500 per month that was reached at the end of the roadmap in 2008 and further improved with the SSSS in 2012 to USD2,084.42. Clearly, you can see the drop of over USD1,086.57, i.e., GHC6,193.45, a drop which is more than the Lecturer’s present take home pay. I believe you will agree with UTAG that this is unacceptable. Indeed, the question one would naturally ask is, “Do we aspire for progression in income or otherwise?”! Ladies and gentlemen, for the sake of industrial harmony and not to compound the already jeopardised academic calendar of the public universities, UTAG demands that Government should just restore the 2012 values for the lecturer without recourse to adjustments. UTAG believes that this demand is appropriate and fair. If Government finds this difficult to do, UTAG is willing to follow a road map as suggested by the Prof. Yaa NtiamoaBaidu’s report on the Presidential Committee on Emoluments for Article 71 Office Holders, June 2020.


” in the preamble of that document at page(xi) and iterated elsewhere again in the document and I quote “the Committee strongly urges the Government to also spare no efforts at reducing the wide gap between the highest and lowest paid Public Servant in the Country. This can be achieved by implementing a roadmap (as was done during the
tenure of former President Kuffuor for the health and education tertiary sectors) for enhancing the salaries of public sector workers on the Single Spine Salary Structure.

“The goal must be that the salary earned by every worker should enable him/her to live in dignity”. Ladies and gentlemen, you may recall that in a press release dated 17th June 2021, UTAG stated that “further delay on the negotiation beyond the end of July 2021 will compel UTAG to advise itself”. Thus, until our demands are considered and met in-toto, UTAG would have no other option than to embark on industrial action by withdrawing teaching, which includes the conduct of examinations, marking of examination scripts, and other related matters, starting from Monday, 2nd of August 2021 until further notice.”

Source: 3news.com|Ghana

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