The association has sent a strong signal to government that it would not back down in the ‘fight’ against the scrapping of the book and research allowance paid the members.
This was declared by Dr. Samuel Ofori Bekoe, the National President of UTAG, on Wednesday.
He said UTAG members are professionals who are committed to their work and know the tools needed for the job and ‘will not be pushovers to allow people who do not know anything about tertiary education to dictate to us.’
The position of UTAG is in consonance with that of its counterpart Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG) which is currently on strike and has won a court case against the National Labour Commission. The court therefore directed POTAG to go for compulsory arbitration since its claim concerning the book and research allowance was legitimate.
Government, in the 2013 budget announced the cancellation of the book and research allowance to be replaced with a national research fund. This decision however, did not go down well with the two tertiary education teachers’ associations, with the POTAG declaring an indefinite strike, which has been on for the past eight weeks.
But speaking at the inauguration of the 10th UTAG branch at the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) in Ho, Volta Region, Dr. Ofori Bekoe said the book and research allowance was part of the condition of service of members of the association and so government had no right to unilaterally take away the allowance, noting that it was against international labour laws.
‘Government must listen to us because anything short of this will not auger well for all of us; and if government cannot do it, it must move out for the one who can do it to take over,’ he stated.
UTAG, according to Dr. Bekoe, is not against the proposed national research fund, but he stressed that it should not be used to replace the book and research allowance since they serve different purposes.
He also said the absence of a policy document on the proposed national research fund could affect its successful implementation.
The UHAS branch of UTAG is under the Presidency of Dr. Francis Zotor, Head of the Department of Public Health, UHAS. Other executives are Peter Adatara, Vice-President; Reuben Ayivor-Djanie, Secretary and Ms Eunice Berko, Treasurer.
Dr. Bekoe asked the new executives to unite to develop the association as a professional union and assured them of the UTAG national executive committee’s support in their activities.
Professor Edwin K. Wiredu, Pro-Vice Chancellor of UHAS, lauded the association for fighting for the good of its members and urged them to remain steadfast in their endeavours.
From Fred Duodu & Lambert Atsivor, Ho ( [email protected] )
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