POTAG To Sue Gov’t If…

Reports making the rounds indicate that government through the Ministry of Education has directed the Controller and Accountant General’s Department to freeze the salaries of the striking polytechnic teachers for the month of August and subsequent months if they continue with their industrial action.

The government is also considering whether or not to deduct from the salaries of the striking polytechnic teachers all monies they have already collected.

The Polytechnic teachers who have been on strike for over three months now are agitating for the non-payment of their book and research allowance.

The call for the salaries of striking polytechnic lecturers to be withheld began with the former Security Advisor Brigadier Nunoo Mensah who did not understand why the lecturers should be receiving salaries while at home.

Speaking to Peace FM morning show host, Kwami Sefa Kayi on Monday, a Member of the National Communications Team of POTAG and President of the Takoradi Polytechnic Branch, Asare Appiah threatened the group will sue government if it truly goes ahead with plans to freeze their salaries.

According to him, they have not yet received a notification to that effect ‘but if the information making the rounds are true, then it means government is refusing to acknowledge that there is rule of law in the country and so we will pursue it in court’.

He reiterated that it will be unlawful for government to freeze their salaries because court had already ruled their strike action as legal.

POTAG has been on strike since May 15, 2014 over the non-payment of their book and research allowances since 2013. Other similar bodies, notably the University Teachers Association (UTAG), are also on strike which began in July, forcing many public universities to delay reopening for this academic year.

Government, meanwhile says, it plans to establish the National Research Fund to permanently address the perennial challenges with the allowance.

But Asare Appiah questioned government’s commitment to resolving the impasse citing what he says was contemptuous manner in which an MOU signed at the request of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education was treated by the Education and Finance Ministries.

“It will be unlawful for government to withhold our salaries. If that is the position of government, then we will go to court. Why should government use its power to threaten teachers…does it mean the President do not abide by the laws in the country?” he quizzed.

He then insisted that ‘2013/2014 book and research allowance must be paid…once there is a commitment indicating that government will pay, we will resume to class and call off the strike’.

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