UTAG plans to join striking Polytechnic lecturers if gov’t fails to pay them

The University Teachers Association of Ghana has indicated it will soon join striking Polytechnic lecturers if government fails to pay their research and book allowance for the 2014/2015 academic year.

President of UTAG Dr. Samuel Ofori Bekoe told Joy News they have been angered by comments the Deputy Minister In-Charge of Tertiary Education made, that government did not owe lecturers any research and book allowance.

He said they have been directed by the Labour Commission to go for voluntary arbitration in dealing with the matter and ‘that’s what we are waiting for.’

‘If they are not giving us the materials to go and teach, we can’t go and teach,’ Dr. Bekoe stated.

Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa stressed at a press conference yesterday, that government did not owe lecturers any allowance but POTAG rebutted the claims Wednesday afternoon on Joy News, saying, ‘It’s not true, it’s a lie.”

‘Let me state from the onset that as we speak, Government of Ghana does not owe salaries; does not owe allowances of lecturers. The book and research allowance is paid once a year; only once a year, at the end of the academic year,’ Okudzeto Ablakwa remarked.

Continuing that, ‘Last year, for the 2012/2013 academic year, the book and research allowance was paid in September, more specifically on the 30th of September, 2013. It is unfortunate and regrettable that POTAG decided to pull out, declared a strike for an allowance which is not due. By May when they declared this strike, this allowance was not due. It is paid once a year,’ he added.

Okudzeto Ablakwa added that government was not in arrears, indicating that the book and research allowance has always, for more than 10 years been paid at the end of the academic year but the POTAG president disagreed.

POTAG President, James Dugrah explained to Myjoyonline.com that government owed each member of the Association GHc400 and $1,500 as research and book allowance respectively.

This year’s allowance, he indicated, has not yet been paid, the reason for which members of the association are on strike.

He explained that the payment schedule used to be in February and was later moved to May/June.

According to him, the academic year ends in June and that, the September pay they received last year was for the 2012/2013 academic year.

POTAG members have laid down their teaching tools for over a month now due to the non-payment of their six-month book and research allowance owed them by government.

The strike has entered its 8th week. Polytechnic students have said that academic performance would be badly affected due to the strike action by the lecturers.

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