Striking public university worker unions have warned students not to return to the various campuses as their demands for better conditions of service negotiations with the National Labour Commission (NLC) still linger on.
The unions laid down their tools after the government took a decision to pay vehicle maintenance and off-campus allowances of GHS6.65, instead of the GHS10.99, the unions bargained.
The NLC has given the unions and government a one-week window to engage further and report back to the Commission.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, the President of the University Teacher Association of Ghana (UTAG), Professor Solomon Nunoo, said the students have to wait till they find a lasting solution to the hanging problem.
He said the NLC appealed to them to return to the lecture halls, adding that a decision would have to be made by members as to whether they will return or not.
“Should we wait for students to report to school on January 7, 2023, then they are stranded, before we shout to find a solution to this problem? From where I sit, they need to hold on. They shouldn’t go to campuses, because if they go they won’t meet anyone, the lecturers, cleaners, administrators are all not available,” Prof. Nunoo stated on Eyewitness News.
He bemoaned the lack of commitment by the government to solving the pending issue, stressing that the finance ministry has not been at meetings.
“Unfortunately, most of the engagements we have had, had not had the ministry of finance at the negotiating table. So the minister of finance is not there, oftentimes you will see assignees who are unable to make a determination or commit government to any particular thing. We hope to see them at the table so that we can finalise all these issues.”
“The government has not shown enough commitment to solving the problem, maybe students are at home, and they feel that this is not really a big issue,” he said on Eyewitness News.
The NLC after a meeting with the striking unions directed the government to pay three months’ allowance arrears to the unions.
This, the President of UTAG said, “It’s like the issues are still hanging, paying three months arrears doesn’t solve anything, the problem is still hanging, but at least this one shows commitment of government”.
He added, “we wanted more, we wanted finality to the items we tabled at our disposal, our expectations is that, we have said time and again that our vehicle maintenance and off campus allowance are tied to the litres of fuel, depending on the person’s level or position within the university and what the person is entitled to… so this is why we went to the NLC for them to look at the matter, to some extent this is a win for us”.
The striking unions comprise the University Teacher Association of Ghana (UTAG), Ghana Association of University Administrators (GAUA), Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU), the Federation of University Senior Staff Association of Ghana (FUSAG) and Senior Staff Association of Universities of Ghana (SSA-UoG).
The unions have been on strike since October 17, 2022.