We are not ready to negotiate Research Fund; POTAG tells government

The Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG) says it is unwilling to negotiate with government on the newly introduced National Research Policy.

POTAG members have been on strike since May 15, 2014 over the non-payment of their book and research allowances since 2013. Members of the University Teachers Association (UTAG) also embarked on a similar action in July, forcing many public universities to delay reopening for this academic year.

In response to the development, Government announced plans to establish the National Research Fund to permanently address the perennial challenges with the allowance.

However, a recent meeting between government and POTAG and UTAG representatives, ended in a deadlock following the refusal of the POTAG and UTAG representatives to enter into a memorandum of understanding to have the book and research allowance replaced by the research fund.

Lawyer for POTAG, Justin Pwavra Teriwajah on Monday stated on the Joy FM Super Morning Show that signing the memorandum will amount to a contravention of existing contract his clients have with the government regarding the book and research allowance.

“We are not willing to negotiate on the National Research Policy because that is independent of our contract,” he said.

Mr. Teriwajah remarked: “If we were able to get an acceptable MOU, both parties would have been back teaching by now”.

According to him, government should do the proper thing by entering into a negotiation with POTAG on the need to replace the allowance with the fund rather than being adamant regarding their demand for what is due them.

“Why are you forcing them to go out of the contract they have with you?” he questioned the government.

Salary freeze
In a related development, the government 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.

But Lawyer Justin Pwavra Teriwajah says his clients have not received any official communication to that effect.

He described the decision as a move to “vilify POTAG and make it look evil” when a similar action has not been taken against their colleagues in the universities who are also on strike.

“Why is POTAG being singled out to be vilified when UTAG is also involved in the industrial action?…Both of them declared their intention to go on strike; they refused to sign the memorandum of understanding…” why blame only POTAG. Story by Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | Jerry Tsatro Mordy | [email protected]

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