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The Technical University Teachers’ Association of Ghana (TUTAG) yesterday declared a nationwide strike over the delay in the payment of allowances of members across the country.

The strike action, it said, would affect teaching, invigilation and marking of scripts, adding that “all other services shall continue until otherwise determined by TUTAG Congress”.

“Having fulfilled the statutory requirement of the Labour Law, TUTAG hereby declares an indefinite strike on this day, January 6, 2020.

TUTAG shall call off the strike only upon the fulfilment of the National Labour Commission (NLC) ruling of October 28, 2019,” a statement signed by the President of TUTAG, Dr Solomon Keelson, said.

Throwing more light on the strike, Dr Keelson told the Daily Graphic that the decision to embark on the strike action was agreed upon at its congress in Accra yesterday, attended by three representatives each from the various universities.

According to him, the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) was the cause of all the delay in the payment of the allowances.

“When the directive was given by the Ministry of Finance for the Controller and Accountant General to pay, NCTE asked them to hold on for it to go for certain data.

Would you believe that something that is supposed to be paid in December the NCTE wrote a letter on December 30, a day to the end of the month to request some data,” he asked, adding that the data included “building permit, site plan, indenture and a colour picture of the house you stay in so that they would be sure that they have to pay rent to you”.

He said the demand of the data was unnecessary, since it was a way of buying time and that was also creating tension on the various campuses.

“We are presenting the data, we have not finished presenting .

The NCTE has written to the management of the schools so if you are a teacher in the school and your management is asking you to provide certain data, you have to do that,” he said.

Earlier strike

The statement said members of TUTAG declared a strike on October 7, 2019, following the failure of government to fully migrate senior members of technical universities onto the Single Spine Pay Structure of public universities.

That, it said, was after TUTAG had gone through a comprehensive staff audit in fulfilment of the migration.

“Government sought the intervention of the NLC after failing to reach any consensus with the leadership of TUTAG after series of meetings.

The NLC invited both parties to a hearing on October 28, 2019, and ruled that the “employer shall pay all the generic allowances payable to TUTAG members who qualify at the end of December 2019 (electricity, rent, security, car maintenance, off-campus allowances).

The responsibility, entertainment and fuel allowances shall be paid to deserving office holders in December 2019 and that the back pay of the above allowances, effective August 2019, shall be paid in January and February 2020,” the statement said.

Work

With that, it said TUTAG was to call off its strike immediately and return to work, and that the “parties are strongly advised to negotiate and act in good faith at all times”.

“In accordance with the ruling, TUTAG complied by immediately suspending the strike with the hope that government would fulfil their part of the ruling by the payment of December 2019 salaries.

However, salaries of December 2019 were paid without the said allowances with no official communication to that effect.

It is worthy of note that some amounts of money have been credited to some office holders of the technical universities but the said amounts do not reflect the NLC’s ruling.

This is a clear indication that the government refused to fully comply with the NLC’s ruling,” it said.

The statement said the government, through NCTE, was trying everything to make sure technical universities were not fully migrated onto the Single Spine Pay Structure of public universities, and that “government is also doing everything possible to create a second-tier public university even though NCTE professes ‘parity of prestige’”.