POTAG strike surprising – Government

Deputy Education Minister, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has underscored Government’s surprise at the decision of members of the Polytechnic Teachers Association (POTAG) to embark on a strike.

Members of the teachers union have abandoned the classroom in demand for the restoration of the Book and Research Allowance abolished by the government in favour of a newly established National Research Fund.

The government, under the aegis of the Finance and Economic Planning Ministry, on February 2 this year, released GH¢3.75 million out of an expected total of GH¢15 million for the establishment of a research and innovation facility to encourage more research work in tertiary institutions as announced in the 2014 Budget Statement.

POTAG and the University Teachers Association of Ghana however have kicked against the decision, arguing, among other reasons that the withdrawal of the allowance would have negative implications for tertiary education.

The parties have since disagreed on the way forward, with the National Labour Commission ordering that they deliberate on the issues for a common ground.

But according to Ablakwa, who spoke with Asempa FM, government’s surprise at the latest action by POTAG stemmed from the fact that they were still engaged in discussions over the matter, and contrary to labour provisions for workers to notify employers before embarking on strikes, there has been no such notification.

While he called the POTAG action a unilateral one, he said it was totally out of sync with what is going on. Once discussions are going on and all stakeholders brought to the table, he said there was no need for the strike action. Listen to the Deputy Minister in the attached audio.


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