Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Ghana: Industrial action

University teachers declared a strike on 1 August after a meeting between the leaders of UTAG and the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission to discuss arrears ended inconclusively.

The UTAG embarked on industrial action earlier this year, along with teachers, doctors and pharmacists, demanding, among other things, that a 2010 wage policy be implemented in full, but they suspended action after government promises to resolve the teachers' grievances. The risks for the government are that this action could spread across the country's education system at the secondary and primary tiers as well.

Deputy Information and Media Relations Minister Murtala Muhammed told journalists that he was surprised the lecturers had declared a strike because the government has released GH¢25 million and the lecturers would start receiving their payment from the end of this week.

An online statement issued on 2 August from the office of President John Mahama said, “I wish to take the opportunity to appeal to university teachers who, I am told, have just commenced a strike based on some issues that I believe have been resolved.

“I will appeal to them not to continue with the strike, we have to ensure that the system goes on undisturbed.''

The lecturers are demanding full payment of their market premium arrears and allowances which have been outstanding for a year following Ghana's migration to the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS).

UTAG president, Dr Anthony Simmons, said on Friday 2 August that the strike would continue until the government has dealt with all its concerns.

“If the money hits the accounts, definitely we will take a decision, but until that is done, we still stand by the strike,'' he said.

The Federation of University Senior Staff Association of Ghana (FUSSAG) has also announced its intention to withdraw services over the government's failure to settle their annual base pay.

The Deputy Education Minister said that FUSSAG members should expect to be reimbursed within the next couple of weeks.

For more news and expert analysis about Ghana, please see Ghana Politics & Security.

© 2013 Menas Associates

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