Political Science lecturer, University of Ghana, Prof Ransford Gyampo

Secretary of the University of Ghana branch of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG), Prof Ransford Yaw Gyampo says government must fulfil its promise to lecturers.

He has threatened that the UG branch of the Association will embark on an indefinite strike should the Finance Minister fail to factor their needs in the yet-to-be-presented 2022 budget.

“We will vacate and reopen no more if you [Ken Ofori-Atta] treat us with contempt and disrespect once again. Given the increased trust deficit, please be assured that no amount of appeal from whatever quarter would get us to rescind our decision, should we strike again.”

“The last resort may be to get the very moribund National Labor Commission to send us court again and to seek our imprisonment,” Secretary of UG UTAG, Prof Ransford Gyampo, said in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

He revealed that UTAG’s silence over government’s delay in addressing their salary concerns is strategic, adding that “[they] are willing to go to prison just to secure the interest of the future generation of University Teachers.”

While urging the Minister of Finance to go ahead and present the budget for the 2022 fiscal year, Prof Gyampo warned that no amount of appeal from any outfit would change their decision if they strike.

“As you prepare to read the budget for 2022, I respectfully urge you [Finance Minister] not to do any such presentation without factoring in the poor conditions of service of University Teachers. One of the abused refrain used in countering our demands this year has been mantra that ‘we did not factor UTAG demands in the 2021 budget’.”

“I respectfully urge you not to go present figures that improve the conditions of service of your colleague political appointees and their article 71 officeholders and get others to plead with University Teachers to accept to live in poverty and poor conditions of service. Sir, it won’t work this time,” he pleaded.

UTAG’s strike

The University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) embarked on a strike from August 2, 2021, to protest what they say is their poor conditions of service.

After two weeks of the strike, they reached an agreement with government to suspend their strike action and resume negotiation for a mandatory 30 days, with the hope that their concerns will be addressed.

Among others, the University Teachers Association of Ghana wanted government to pay entry-level lecturers $2,084.

The strike almost brought public universities to their knees, with the University of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and others suspending exams and explaining they could close the schools if action was not taken.

Prof Gyampo earlier blamed the Finance Minister for not showing up at any of their scheduled meetings which sought to find lasting solutions to university teachers’ plights.

“The MoA signed to increase annual research allowance (not monthly salary) to $1,600, which works out to about only $130 a month top-up of our research allowance, has been rejected by UTAG members.”

“Please be reminded that research allowances are not salaries. They are monies to undertake research to discover knowledge to aid teaching. Also, no serious researcher discovers anything with USD130 a month,”Gyampo told the Finance Minister.

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