President of the University Teachers Association (UTAG), UCC Chapter, Dr Samuel Bert Boadi-Kusi, has disclosed that members of UTAG are performing all of their duties except teaching on various campuses.
He indicated that the Association’s strike action must be “contextualized” and not misunderstood as members not working on campuses. Dr Boadi-Kusi explained that the first year students for instance have been on campus and they have been taken through their orientation, emphasizing that it is just one aspect of “our duties” that have been withdrawn.
“Apart from not teaching, we are still doing research, we are doing community service, we have some colleagues who are research fellows. So, they are researching [and] engaging in all their research community activities. The only component of our core work that we have withdrawn is our teaching and its related activities.”Dr Samuel Bert Boadi-Kusi
Following the strike action carried out by UTAG, the National Labour Commission released a statement demanding UTAG to call off its strike. The Commission described UTAG’s action as “illegal and does not conform to the laid down procedures”.
The UCC-UTAG President in his reaction to the NLC directive explained that its official position is that it respects the NLC. Describing it as state institution, Dr Boadi-Kusi noted that it is not the Association’s intention to bring the name of the NLC into disrepute.
“So, we as leaders, our constitutional mandate, went to ask all our members to inform them of the directive of the NLC… All members [and] all branches [with] unanimous voice said that yes, we have heard what the NLC is saying, but we think that this time around we are not ready to call off or suspend because of our recent history where we suspended and some things that were agreed upon were not fulfilled”.Dr Samuel Bert Boadi-Kusi
Negotiation to resolve strike action
Due to the strike action undertaken by UTAG, calls were made by some stakeholders demanding that lecturers must not be paid their January salary due to their absence from lecture halls and failure to attend to duties. Commenting on this, Mr Boadi-Kusi revealed that in the “crisis management” and situation they find themselves in, persons who are supposed to be “neutral arbiters” and resolve such matters should not be the first to put out these kinds of threats.
“It doesn’t help the resolution processes all of us have been looking for. In the past, we have heard some comments from some communicators and we think that it does not really augur well for all of us. In as much as the other side has expressed concern about the fact that we are not going back to the lecture room, it is also worry that we will be having people on the other side who are supposed to be neutral arbiters also commenting or more less taking sides”.Dr Samuel Bert Boadi-Kusi
Dr Boadi-Kusi revealed that should matters escalate and salaries get withdrawn with no resolution in sight, per the moods of meetings UTAG has had, the “grassroots are resolute” to carry their demands through.