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20.08.2004 General News

University workers to resume work on Monday

By GNA

Accra, Aug. 20, GNA - Workers of State Universities on Friday resolved to call off their strike action on Monday following the release of 31.9 billion cedis by the Government for the payment of their salary arrears.

Members of Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU) and the Federation of Universities Senior Staff Association of Ghana (FUSSAG) embarked on a strike action on Monday to back their demand for the payment of six months arrears arising out of salary increase announced by the Government.

Addressing a rally of workers at the University of Ghana, Legon Main Entrance on Friday, the Local Chairman of the Legon branch of FUSSAG, Mr Kyei Bafour said the Government had released 31.9 billion cedis for the payment of the arrears.

He read a letter signed by the Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning Mr Kwaku Agyeman Manu to the Controller and Accountant - General saying: "You are hereby authorised to release =A231,932,889,633.66 (Thirty-one billion, nine hundred and thirty-two million, eight hundred and eighty-nine thousand, six hundred and thirty-three cedis, sixty-six pesewas) representing the balance of personnel emoluments (Item 1) and Administration (Item 2) to cover salary arrears and salary differentials between January and June, 2004."

The membership of University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG); Ghana Association of University Administrators (GAUA); TEWU and FUSSAG, all of the Universities of Ghana would be paid.

Even though the letter stated that the arrears should be paid in September, the Leadership of TEWU and FUSSAG rejected the date outright and after lengthy discussion with the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Kwadwo Asenso-Okyere, who is also the Chairman of (VCG), agreed that payment should be effected by Friday August 27, 2004. Meanwhile, the Leadership of TEWU and FUSSAG of University of Ghana Branch have warned the University Administrators that if the arrears were not paid on the stipulated date, they would revert to their strike action.

The University of Ghana, Legon Branch of TEWU and FUSSAG on Monday embarked on a strike action until salary arrears owed them from January 2004 to June 2004 and new salaries and arrears due to their members at the University for Development Studies (UDS), Tamale, were paid in full. A resolution issued and signed by the General Secretary of TEWU, Mr Daniel Ayim Antwi and the Federal President of FUSSAG, Mr Dominic Otomfo Essel, on Tuesday, said other universities had implemented the new salary increases but the Management of the UDS had strangely failed to implement them.

Both organisations expressed their disappointment at the failure of the VCG to live up to a resolution they adopted earlier on at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi on June 24, 2004, in which they promised that the salary arrears would be paid on or before the end of July 2004.

When the resolution was read to the members at the main entrance of the University of Ghana by the Local Branch Chairman of TEWU, Mr Peter Lumor, the entire membership of TEWU and FUSSAG decided to march to the Central Administration of the University of Ghana to present the resolution to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Edward Ofori Sarpong, who received it on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor.

Professor Ofori Sarpong told the membership of TEWU and FUSSAG that the Vice-Chancellor Professor Asenso-Okyere had earlier on left to the Ministry of Finance to deliver an audit report the Sector Minister had demanded to enable him to effect payment.

Professor Ofori Sarpong told the members that the VCG was meeting in Accra to hurriedly work hard to make sure that salary arrears of all the State Universities in Ghana were paid to so that the academic calendar would not be disrupted.

The strike action delayed the registration of freshmen in the Faculties and at the Central Administration of the University of Ghana while Executives of Junior Common Rooms of various halls stood in to do the registration in the halls of residence. 20 Aug. 04

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