Labour unions and the government of Ghana have all been told to eschew strategies that intimidate the other while negotiations are ongoing on conditions of service.
A Labour Consultant, Mr Austin Garmey said per the labour laws, when negotiations are ongoing the striking union should not continue with its action.
On the part of the government he said, the employer is also mandated under the law to keep the communication channels active at all times.
He was contributing to a discussion on the strike by the Universities Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) and Colleges of Education Teachers Association of Ghana (CETAG), on the Key Point show on TV3/3FM Saturday January 15.
“It is incumbent on the employer to hold meetings, Intimidation must stop from both parties,” he said and added, “During negotiations both parties must refrain from aggression.”
“They must learn to use decent language properly, their gentility is very low, they are not talking properly, be 100 per cent honest without excuse,” he said.
“The sensible thing to do now is to dialogue,” he said while quoting Section 9 of the Labour Act which talks about open channels at all times, to support his comment.
Mr Garmey further blamed the agitations on the lack of communication from the quarters of the employer which is the government.
He said that the labour law mandates the government to keep the communication channels with the unions active at all times but that appears to have failed leading to the strikes.
“We are not implementing the laws,” he said, and added that “communication is the problem. Both the employer and the unions are not communicating.
“The employer should keep opening channel, I urge the employers to communicating.”
The National Labour Commission (NLC) had ruled that the strike by the UTAG and CETAG is illegal.
This was after a meeting with the labour unions and the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations was held on Thursday January 13.
After the meeting, Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Bright Wireku Brobbey told journalists that the goverment is expecting that the unions to do the needful.
“In the sprit of transparency and very mutual respect for them , they have assured them that whatever allowance is due them because they were captured in the 2022 budget January they are going to be paid . Therefore the Commission has directed that they go and call off the strike immediately.
“This is something that is good for Ghana expecting that schools had just reopened , parents had just seen of their wards to the various institution. I am glad that CETAG has also be asked so let us expect that they do the needful and then we have peace.”
He added ” The National Labour Commission is a state institution. Indeed of labour institution are litigating there must be somebody to arbitrate . This is the legally mandated institution, they have heard us and they have issued their directive . It is my expectation that UTAG will also call off their striker.”
CETAG members suspended teaching service starting Thursday January 6.
The National Council entreated all of its members to comply with this directive.
This action came on the heels of, among other things, “The failure by the government to implement the 2017-2020conditiosn of service as agreed,” a statement said.
UTAG also embarked on their action 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.
“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).
“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