Executive Secretary of the National Labor Commission (NLC), Mr. Ofosu Asamoah, has intimated that the NLC is only an arbiter in the ongoing UTAG strike negotiation and cannot trigger an outcome in resolving the issue despite its declaration of it as illegal.
Commenting on the decision by some UTAG members to continue the strike, he revealed that the National Labor Commission is not a party to the negotiation to resolve the strike action.
“We are only an arbiter. As the strike has been declared illegal, these leaders against who the declaration have been made say yes, I will still go ahead and continue with my illegality.”Mr. Ofosu Asamoah
Mr. Ofosu Asamoah revealed that concerning the current situation, it is up to the management of the striking universities to take a decision on what its staff is doing or the situation will continue.
Touching on the progress of the concerns raised by the other unions such as CETAG and CLOSAG, Mr. Asamoah stated that negotiations are currently ongoing. He indicated that the NLC is privy to the industrial actions which have taken place in the country as he received a number of the notices from the Unions.
“CLOSAG, UTAG, CETAG and a number of them but as soon as we receive those notices, we begin to work on them.”Mr. Ofosu Asamoah
Mr. Ofosu Asamoah averred that immediately the NLC receives such notices, it conveys the grievances of the unions to the various departments, ministries and agencies who are responsible and plays a role in solving the problem.
“So, in the case of UTAG, when we received their notice, we wrote to the Ministry of Employment, the Ministry of Education, Ghana Tertiary Education Commission and the Fair Wages And Salaries Commission.”Mr. Ofosu Asamoah
The NLC Executive Secretary disclosed that when UTAG’s notice was received, a series of meetings went on to best address the issue.
“There were quite a number of issues they brought up. So, sitting together, they’ve been able to resolve a number of them. The one that was outstanding was the book and research allowance and the market premium.”Mr. Ofosu Asamoah
Following this, Mr. Asamoah indicated that his outfit received information that the book and research allowance has been solved per an agreement to increase it from GHC1,500 to $1,600 over a period of 3 years.
The Executive Secretary of NLC however, revealed that he has been receiving death threats from some aggrieved persons on the labor front in the country.
“One day, somebody came to my office with a knife. So, we now have a police guard. Because I sign some of the letters and declarations, they think I give the decisions. Somebody also threatened me and he said: ‘I know your house’.”Mr. Ofosu Asamoah
UTAG continues strike
Despite the negotiations and the declaration of the UTAG strike as illegal, the University of Ghana’s chapter of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UG-UTAG) has refused to call off its strike.
This action is in direct contravention of an NLC directive for the strike to be called off immediately. The NLC had described UTAG’s action as “illegal and does not conform to the laid down procedures.”
However, in reaction to the NLC’s directive, UG-UTAG indicated that the directive comes as a surprise to them.
UTAG stated that its members were surprised at the NLC’s directive for the strike to be called off due to late notification. The Association suggested that the NLC have deliberately evaded and frustrated the processes to serve them with notification.
According to UG-UTAG, until their demands for improved conditions of service are met, they will be unable to call off the strike.
UG-UTAG further reiterated its rejection of the 6th October 2021 MoA and demanded that they be restored to the 2013 entry point salary level of the cedi equivalent of 2,084 USD per month.