UTAG likely to call off month long strike

Striking university lecturers have agreed to call off their month long strike after a marathon meeting with officials of the Ministry of Education.

The meeting ended on a good note but not without controversy, Joy News’ Fred Smith reported.

According to him, representatives of UTAG initially walked out of the meeting when government representatives introduced a new clause into a Memorandum of Understanding.

Per that clause, government was to scrap the book and research allowance after it had paid the existing arrears which have necessitated the strike.

The lecturers objected to the clause and accused the government officials of prematurely going to announce a resolution to the impasse when nothing had been been agreed.

The lecturers walked out of the meeting but later returned after it was agreed that the book and research allowance would have to be be discussed at the Fair Wages and Salary Commission in line with their conditions of service.

The representatives of UTAG consequently signed the MOU.

“Government reaffirmed its resolve to pay the Book and Research Allowance under the existing arrangement for the 2013/2014 academic year.

“The parties resolved to ensure that the payment of the 2013/2014 Book and Research Allowance commence with immediate effect and will be completed by the end of the 2014 fiscal year.

“It was noted that the Ministry of Finance and the NCTE have initiated the processes leading to the payment of the Book and Research Allowances.”

“That UTAG is expected by this agreement to call off its immediate strike action immediately and to restore normalcy on the university campuses,” the MOU indicated. 

The MOU was jointly signed by the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Haruna Iddrisu, Minister for Education Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, Chief Executive of the of the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission Mr George Smith Graham, Mr Paul Dzandu, Deputy Executive Secretary for Tertiary Education and Mr Samuel Bekoe, UTAG president.

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