Government must address concerns of striking lecturers immediately – NUGS

The National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) has pleaded with the government to act swiftly on the demands of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG).

NUGS indicated that the industrial action by the lecturers is already derailing academic work; hence, government should act timeously to prevent its escalation.

Speaking in an interview on the AM Show on Friday, NUGS President, Emmanuel Boakye Yiadom said the frequent attacks on personalities by some members in the disputing parties only shift attention from the substantive issues which need urgent attention.

“Strike actions do not help students, learning and teaching. I must say it is very unfortunate that our lecturers are striking. We call on the appropriate agencies, bodies and the government to, as a matter of urgency, attend to them and see to it that they return to classroom for learning and teaching to continue as soon as possible.”

“We’ve maintained that the government should make serious attempts in order to get all these problems resolved. Ghanaian students can’t always be at the suffering end. It’s rather unfortunate if people keep attacking personalities rather than the substance or the purpose of the strike,” he observed.

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He acknowledged that the Union is aware of efforts being made by UTAG to negotiate with the government. However, Yiadom Boakye urged leadership of UTAG not to take entrenched positions over the issue.

“We’d also plead with our lecturers not to go into negotiations with hardened hearts and entrenched positions because at the end of the day, that will definitely mar the negotiation processes.”

“We believe things must be done at a faster pace because the conditions of service, I think one way or the other, is a bit problematic, looking at the direction UTAG is coming from,” he added.

UTAG embarked on the industrial action on Monday, January 10, 2022 citing government’s failure to adhere to a roadmap on conditions of service that both parties had agreed on.

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After a meeting with the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) and the National Labour Commission (NLC) on Thursday, the strike by UTAG was declared illegal.

According to the NLC, the Association did not follow the laid down procedures in declaring the strike. UTAG was therefore directed to resume work.

UTAG disagrees

UTAG National President, Professor Solomon Nunoo, said UTAG disagrees with the NLC’s decision.

“So this afternoon, we met the NLC to discuss our ongoing strike action; that is UTAG. So in the view of the panel that met us, it’s their considered opinion that the strike action is illegal but we thought otherwise, so as at now, we are going to meet our constituents.

“The concerns we raised, they believe that the concerns are legal, we have a case, but they believe that we should sit with our employer and talk a little more,” he said.

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