From Alfred Kwesi Adams, Takoradi .
The Technical University Teachers Association of Ghana (TUTAG) has declared an indefinite strike action across the country. Speaking to the media to officially announce the decision, the association said, though “we will come to work; we will not touch the work.”
The National President of TUTAG, Mr. Peter Awini, who spoke on behalf of the association, said they had declared a strike action because the Ministry of Education and the National Council of Tertiary Education (NCTE) had failed to migrate lecturers of technical universities onto public universities’ single spine salary structure.
According to him, TUTAG’s migration onto the scheme was legal, logical, fair and right, but there has been variance in relation to the conditions of service enjoyed by technical universities. Mr. Peter Awini, local President of TUTAG at the Takoradi Technical University, pointed out that even under unfavourable working conditions, “we have continued to fulfill our duties, responsibilities and obligations to our universities and Ghana at large.”
However, he said the failure of their employees to migrate them onto the requisite pay structure that pertained in public universities was hurtful, and that tension in the various campuses had reached a crescendo. He added that the leadership of TUTAG wrote several letters to Ministry of Education, NCTE, and Fair and Wages and Salary Commission to expedite action to remedy the situation, but they failed to respond.
According to him, after persistent pressure, the Ministry of Education (MOE) finally responded to their letters, where it set out three preconditions that must be fulfilled before the migration of staff of technical universities could be done, but they rejected those conditions.
The reason was that the ministry was only trying to give ‘excuses’ to further delay the process of migration. He mentioned the conditions set out by the ministry as enactment of statutes, adoption of approved scheme of service, and conduct of a comprehensive staff audit.
“We completely rejected those preconditions and stood by our request for migration onto conditions of service of public universities with immediate effect,” he said.
According to Peter Awini, the establishment of technical universities also meant an upgrade in corresponding conditions of service commensurate with the new status. However, since 2016, “we have been public universities by stature and responsibilities, but continue to receive polytechnics conditions of service.” He added that unlike the case of the University of Professional Studies, Accra, and the University of Education, Winneba, where the various staff were immediately migrated onto the conditions of service of public universities, the story of the technical university has been different.
He further added that due to the delay in migrating the technical universities onto the public universities’ single spine salary structure, there had been discrepancies in rewards to staff. He said TUTAG, on August 29, submitted a letter notifying the National Labour Commission of its intention to embark on an industrial action to press home their demand for immediate migration.
“We subsequently received a letter from NLC dated August 30, 2018 summoning us to a hearing scheduled for September 12. We attended upon this summons. However, the NLC failed or neglected to sit to hear our case and left us stranded at the offices of the Commission. In view of this, we hereby declare an indefinite sit down strike, having followed the requirement of the labour laws. Let me quickly add that we will come to work, but we will not touch the work,” Peter Awini told the staff amidst thunderous applause.