A Deputy Minister of Education has met with striking university teachers in a bid to avert the closure of universities across the country as the strike enters day 21 tomorrow, August 28, 2013.

University statutes stipulate a mandatory closure of universities if academic work stalls for 21 consecutive days.

However, Deputy Minister of Education, Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa, told Joy News after a meeting with labour groups in the education sector on Monday government was keen on averting a closure of the universities.

“We are all working hard round the clock, and we are quite confident at this point that we will reach an amicable resolution…before that deadline”, the Deputy Minister stated.

UTAG members have embarked on the industrial action to protest delays in payment of their ten months’ salary arrears by government.

UTAG had earlier on Monday announced they might suspend their two-week-old strike in order to keep students busy ahead of the Supreme Court ruling on the 2012 election petition on Thursday August 29.

The lecturers said engaging the students in academic work before or after the ruling will prevent them (students) from engaging in petition-related demonstrations which may turn ugly and become violent.

The Deputy Minister said if the Supreme Court’s ruling on Thursday helps government’s cause to avert closure of universities across the country, that was welcome news.

The Deputy Minister was unhappy with the boycott of the meeting by the Federation of University Senior Staff Association of Ghana (FUSSAG), who have also been on strike since August 19.

“We are surprised that FUSSAG was not in attendance but we will be looking forward to knowing why they did not attend and where they have reached with the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) on their matters which are awaiting resolution”, he said.

But speaking to Joy News on Tuesday August 27, General Secretary of FUSSAG, Emmanuel Eshun, explained they did not meet the Deputy Minister on Monday because they were not informed of any meeting. He said they did not boycott the meeting, as was suggested by the deputy minister.

However, at a meeting late last night in the Ashanti Regional capital, Kumasi, FUSSAG members resolved to continue with the strike.