A lecturer at the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, Professor Ransford Gyampo, has revealed that University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) has been negotiating for better conditions of service for its members for close to ten years without achieving any success.
According to him, successive governments only delay their processes, give numerous excuses and treat them with disrespect on most occasions.
He noted that, despite this harsh treatment from government, they have never been complaining.
According to him, “it is therefore regrettable that the National Labor Commission (NLC) the body expected to serve as an independent arbiter, has chosen to antagonize us.”
“We served notice to go on strike in one month. But the Commission treated us with disrespect by not even acknowledging receipt of our letter. The moment we went on strike, they suddenly called for a meeting,” he revealed.
Professor Gyampo further stated that before they could attend their[NLC] meeting, they[NLC] had already taken UTAG to court, forgetting that the Professors of Law are in the Universities, where the law is taught.
“Whiles in court, the NLC is still asking for a meeting. How is this possible? They went to file an interlocutory injunction against our strike and we went to file a motion to set aside the injunction. But as parents too, UTAG Members are not interested in any protracted litigation that sacrifices the interest of our students. But at the same time, we cannot negotiate in perpetuity and continue to suffer disrespect and poor conditions of service. So what’s the way forward? ” he questioned.
The renowned Professor, who was recently elected as General Secretary of the University Ghana chapter of UTAG, argued that those negotiating on behalf of government, particularly the NLC, have clearly failed and embarrassed the government in their approach to handling this matter.
He believed that UTAG wouldn’t have embarked on strike if the NLC had acted timeously.
He went further to call on President Akufo-Addo to intervene in the matter, as the bucks stops with him, taking a cue from how President Kufour handled a similar matter.
According to Professor Gyampo, after Kufour’s election for a second term in 2004, there was a back and forth discussion about the conditions of service of lecturers.
He stressed that “President Kuffour simply called his Finance Minister and instructed him to agree to pay a USD 1,500 entry point salary to lecturers, with a roadmap that would spread this. Today, all lecturers are still mentioning him as the one who made that giant move. This is his legacy among University Teachers.”
He noted that “the second term of President Akufo-Addo should be a legacy hunting term. I respectfully urge him to intervene in this matter in a manner akin to what Kuffour did, just to bring finality to this impasse. It should be possible for our President to go down in Ghana’s history as the one who improved upon the conditions of service of lecturers.”
“This is a low hanging fruit that can be added to the legacy he may be hunting,” he stated.