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02.08.2013 General News

UTAG vows to continue strike

By Daily Graphic
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'Too little, too late' was the response of university lecturers to the government's announcement of the payment of GH¢25 million to members of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG).

Members of UTAG, who began their indefinite strike yesterday to press home their demand to be paid arrears of allowances due them, said the strike could only be called off after the money had hit their accounts.

According to them, UTAG had, for more than a year now, tried to get the government to adhere to an agreement reached over a year ago.

The President of the Legon branch of UTAG, Dr Langbong Bimi, told the Daily Graphic that the reason for the latest action was that the government had failed to fulfil its side of the bargain after UTAG called  off a similar strike in April this year.

That meeting, he said, which was held on April 15, 2013, was facilitated by the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations (MELR) and attended by representatives of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MOFEP), the National Council for Tertiary Education and the Vice Chancellors, Ghana.

Dr Bimi said at that meeting, the executive of UTAG laid before the government the demand of its members — the payment of the full sum of their market premium which had been in arrears since 2012.

According to him, the government said it could not pay the lump sum so an agreement was reached for the payment to be made in tranches, beginning from April.

That agreement, he said, resulted in UTAG calling off its strike.

He said since the payment of the first tranche in April, there had not been further payments.

With regard to book and research allowances, Dr Bimi said proposals from UTAG had been given to its employer as far back as 2009 but there had not been any agreement on its payment to university lecturers.

Dr Bimi said several letters had been written reminding its employer of its obligation, with the latest  being that of July 11, 2013 to remind the government that the academic year was about to end.

Regrettably, he said, nothing was done.
'It is too little too late,' Dr Bimi told the Daily Graphic.

In April this year, university lecturers went on strike to demand the payment of their market premium, which had not been paid for the whole of 2012.

By Caroline Boateng
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