Former National Youth Organiser of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Anthony Abayefa Karbo, has described the current administration as “recklessly incompetent” and also blames President John Dramani Mahama for the on-going industrial action embarked on by the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) members despite the president’s plea to the group.
Anthony Karbo believes the resuscitated indefinite strike could have been avoided if government had fulfilled its promise to pay the University lecturers.
UTAG is demanding full payment of their market premium arrears and allowances which have been unresolved since last year following their migration onto the single spine salary structure.
Despite government 25 million Ghana cedis released for payment of the arrears, lecturers insist they will not nudge until all their grievances are addressed.
The university lecturers accuse Government of failing to demonstrate commitment to implement a payment plan agreed upon by UTAG and the National Labour Commission; consequently members had no option than to lay down their tools. As part of the payment plan, Government was expected to clear all arrears as at July 31, however, that was ignored after several attempts by UTAG to get it.
Last week, President Mahama pleaded with the UTAG to end their strike action.
“I wish to take the opportunity to appeal to my own university teachers who, I’m told, have just commenced a strike on some issues that I believe have been resolved. I mean there were some arrears which I hear have been done but there’s now talk about book and research allowances which are still being negotiated by the Fair Wages Commission…I’ll just appeal to them (lecturers) to call off whatever strike and concentrate on getting us over this admission hurdle and continue to do the good work they have been doing,” President Mahama said when the leadership of Ekiti State University in Nigeria called on him at Flagstaff House.
On Thursday August 1, the Education Ministry paid the striking teachers their allowances totaling GHC29m but the hope of they (UTAG members) returning to the lecture rooms was dashed as the group maintained that until their book and research allowance are paid, they will remain on strike.
Speaking to the issue during a panel discussion on Asempa FM, Anthony Karbo opined that matters would not have come to a head if government had acted by the July 31 deadline.
“They (UTAG) gave government an ultimatum that by the end of July, payments must be done or they will go on strike. So the question is, if they (NDC) claim they are a listening government, and even President Mahama was able to intervene in the attempt hockey pitch renaming, so why can’t he (Prez Mahama) listen to the plight of the Lecturers (UTAG)?….For me what I have clearly seen is that, this government is completely reckless and incompetent. Even though the Mahama-led administration is incompetent, that incompetency is also displayed recklessly…it is not proactive in tackling issues…I think the President talks too much; he is behaving like a communications team member,” he exclaimed.