An Accra High Court Labour Division has entreated the National Labour Commission (NLC) and University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) to settle the issue of ‘strike action’ out of court.
Both parties were in court on Thursday for the hearing of an application for enforcement of a directive by the NLC as declared by the Commission on January 13, 2022.
The NLC sued UTAG for failing to comply with the directive to call off its strike.
In court today, lawyer for the NLC, Eva Amihere moved a motion for the enforcement of NLC’s directive. Following her motion, the case was held in chambers.
Briefing the media, counsel for UTAG, Kwesi Keli-Delataa noted that the court has asked the parties to resolve their issues out of court.
“When we went into chambers, the judge decided that we should take another bite at an opportunity to try to settle out of court. So that’s what took place today.
We have made it clear to the judge that the national executive does not have the power to call or call off a strike. That decision is solely in the hands of the National executive committee and the general membership of the University of Teachers Association of Ghana.
So we asked for time for the UTAG national executives to go and hold the necessary consultation and then report back to the court. The parties have been encouraged to in-between time engage,” Keli-Delataa said.
The judge presiding over the case, Justice Frank Rockson Aboadwe has informed UTAG and NLC to report the outcome of their negotiation at 1pm on February 10, 2022.’
Should the parties fail to reach a consensus, Keli-Delataa noted that the court will have to make a decision after hearing the NLC’s application.
“So there are standing issues that have been why UTAG has been compelled to institute the strike action.
If these issues are not resolved and the general membership of UTAG decides that the strike will not be called off, then the application has to be heard and has to be heard on its merit and the court will make a decision on that,” he said.
UTAG has been on strike for more than three weeks over its conditions of service. On January 10, lectures laid down their working tools and have refused to return to post.
According to the National Labour Commission, the Association’s strike is illegal, therefore, directed members of UTAG to call off their strike. But UTAG has failed to heed the directive.
Education Minister, Dr Osei Adutwum has said government is engaging UTAG to ensure lectures resume work for academic work for the year to begin.
What is UTAG demanding?
UTAG wants government to reconsider the payment of its annual research allowance to a more realistic allowance “as this is critical to our research output, promotion and ultimately national development.”
They also want the 2013 Interim Market Premium (IMP) of 114% of Basic Salary restored.
The Association had bemoaned the current salary arrangement which has reduced its members’ basic premiums to $997.84 instead of the 2012 conditions of service which put entry level lecturers on a monthly pay of $2,084.42.
Other parties affected
University students are among those affected by the strike as they have been compelled to leave their campuses since there is no academic work ongoing.
The Coalition of Concerned University Students (CoCUS) has, therefore, planned to wage a protest against the ongoing strike by the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) today, February 3, in Accra.
As part of the protest, a petition will be submitted to the Presidency at the Jubilee House.
They will proceed to Parliament to submit another petition to call for the urgent cancellation of the strike by UTAG.
The Greater Accra Regional Police Command is expected to provide the needed security for the demonstration.
The Police have therefore asked the protestors “to only present [their] petition and leave the place peacefully after that.”
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