The  Senior Staff Association of Public Universities in Ghana (SSA-UoG) and the Federation of Universities Senior Staff (FUSSAG) have justified their decision to embark on an indefinite strike action.

According to them, since last year, the government has deliberately refused to pay their mandatory occupational pension, despite countless efforts by their leadership for the scheme to be restored.

JoyNews checks at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), University of Development Studies (UDS), and University of Ghana (UG) on January 18, 2024, showed that the staff were determined to push through with their industrial action until the government decides to address this.  

At KNUST, SSA-UoG said the circumstances were beyond their control and the strike was the only way to compel the government to address their plight.

 A member of the Senior Staff told JoyNews' Nana Boakye Yiadom, that “The main issue has to do with our Tier-2 that the government has been holding and has not paid since February of last year. That is our main issue. This has been an issue that we have gone to government on so many occasions, trying to let government address this issue.”

He explained that the government has refused to address their concern, which has been reflected in the monies received by their members who had recently gone on pension. 

“Government has refused to address this issue. Some of our members have gone on pension,  and when you see the amount of money that they have been given, you realise that the government is actually making things difficult for us. That is our own issue,” he added.

Again, he said that they have been informed about the government's intention to further reduce their fixed allowance from 50% to 10%.

“The second issue is about information that we have gathered that the government is going to reduce our allowance. That is the overtime allowance, fixed overtime allowance from 50% to 10%. The government is giving a new name to the allowance calling it call-in-allowance.

“This has been an arrangement that we have had for a very long time and we feel that this is going to have an effect on our members. Imagine your salary has been reduced to that level. These are the issues that are so concerning to us and that is the two main reasons why we have gathered to embark on this industrial action,” he added.

In the UDS in Tamale, Joy News’ Martina Bugri reports that the situation was no different, as many of the staff insisted that they would not return to the classroom until the government addressed their concerns.

Chairman of the SSA-UoG at UDS, Mohammed Zachari said if the government prioritised tertiary education, it would have addressed the situation.

“The implications of the government’s action are unacceptably severe, particularly for retirees from 2020- 2023. They have been denied the rightful lump sum and are currently facing abject poverty and illness in their own houses after years of dedicated service to the public universities in Ghana,” he said.

Although the association acknowledges that their action is counterproductive, they said they are bent on continuing the industrial action until the necessary steps are taken to address the situation.

Mohammed Zachari stressed that “The Government of Ghana should be held responsible for all the suffering that will arise as a result of the strike.”

Also, speaking to  JoyNew’s reporter Blessed Sogah, SSA-UoG Trustee at the University of Ghana, James Yakubu, explained that before the decision to embark on the industrial action, they had served the government prior notice. However, the government's refusal to respond to their messages has led to the strike.

“Before we embark on such a strike, we need to notify the government at least some number of days, two weeks. We did that on the 4th of January, we did not hear anything from them,” he said.

He said after they declared an industrial action, they saw a communique "flying around" about the Labour Commission calling them to the negotiation table. However, aside from that, they had not received any official notice.

Meanwhile, he said, they were open to negotiating once they received an official notice.

“How can you work in the university for more than 40 years, you go home, and then they give you GH₵2,000, some of them GH₵1,500. These are the realities on the ground. When it comes to our pensions they don’t respect us. They do it anyhow,” he added.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.

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