The University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) has endorsed the strike embarked on by the Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG) to demand payments for their book and research allowances for the 2013/2014 academic year.
UTAG also declared that it might no longer be able to contain the mounting pressure from its members to embark on a similar action ‘if the government does not move away from its current lack of urgency and slow pace attitude towards resolving the problem’
In a statement issued yesterday and copied to the Daily Graphic, UTAG said the issue of the allowance was of mutual interest to it, adding, ‘We, therefore, wish to state that UTAG is in full support of POTAG’s strike and may soon follow suit if the government continues to refuse to address the issue with the urgency that it deserves.’
According to the university teachers, although they had agreed to the decision by the National Labour Commission (NLC) to go for voluntary arbitration on the same issue, it considered POTAG’s decision to embark on a strike in demand for the book and research allowances for the 2013/2014 academic year as appropriate and legitimate.
‘POTAG’s action is appropriate because the NLC failed to respond to a letter of intent to strike sent to it by POTAG, culminating in the strike,’ the statement issued by the UTAG President, Dr. Samuel Ofori Bekoe said.
Angered by Ablakwa’s statement
UTAG expressed its disagreement with a recent press statement made by the Deputy Minister of Education in charge of Tertiary Education, Mr. Samuel Okudjeto Ablakwa, that the payment of the book and research allowances for the 2013/2014 academic year was not delayed and that they would be paid in September this year.
‘For the records, UTAG wishes to make it clear that the allowances are usually paid at the beginning of every academic year (August/September). However, for reasons best known to the government, the allowances had in the past few years, often been delayed and paid at the end of the academic year (June or July),’ it said.
UTAG also stated that if the government delayed the payment of the book and research allowances for the 2013/2014 academic year till September 2014, then it should be prepared to pay for two academic years, 2013/2014 and 2014/2015.
It added that its members would no longer be in a position to pre-finance any activities which were supported by the book and research allowances.
UTAG, however, said it was still committed to resolving the issue in a peaceful way and urged the government to pay the book and research allowances to both POTAG and UTAG members as a matter of urgency in order to prevent any further disruption to the academic calendars of both the polytechnics and the universities, especially for the 2014/2015 academic year.
Credit: Daily Graphic.com.gh
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