Education Ministry surprised by UTAG strike over nonpayment of book and research allowance

The Ministry of Education has expressed shock at the ongoing strike by university teachers over non-payment of their book and research allowance.

The lecturers announced an indefinite strike, Thursday, after negotiations with government about the allowance fell on the rocks.

At a press conference to announce the strike on Thursday, the president of UTAG, Dr. Samuel Ofori-Bekoe said they will only return to the classroom when their allowances are paid.

Government plans to replace the book and research allowance with what it is calling a Research Fund.

According to government, the Fund will bridge lapses in the allowance system.

The university lecturers have joined their colleagues in the polytechnic who have been on strike for nearly two months for the same reasons.

The lecturers early this month hinted they will suspend their services until their grievances are addressed.

 Meanwhile, Head of Public Affairs at the Ministry of Education, Paul Krampah told Joy News the lecturers are to blame for the latest deadlock.

According to him, a decision has already been reached through a negotiation that took place at the Ministry of Education involving the Ministry on one hand and executives of UTAG and POTAG on the other hand.

He revealed that, during the meeting, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the parties in an effort to settle issues regarding allowances owed lecturers in arrears in order for them to get back to the classrooms.

‘We all agreed that there should be a memorandum of understanding, the memorandum of understanding was drawn, we took time to look at the issues word by word and came to an agreement that there was goodwill on the part of government to settle the book and research allowance,’ he stated.

Some tertiary institutions across the nation will resume classes in about two weeks after a long period of vacation.

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