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19.11.2004 General News

Give mandate to COPP before resumption...Union

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Accra, Nov. 19, GNA - The Accra Polytechnic branch of the Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU) of the Trades Union Congress vowed on Friday, not to end their four-week strike until government give the Conference of Principals (COPP) mandate to enter into negotiation in respect of unionised staff of the country's polytechnics.

The Union said since Monday, July 12, 2004, when the union submitted proposals to COPP for the review of expired conditions of service, government has not given the mandate despite a series of meetings held between the two.

A press release in Accra and read by Madam Braimah Salamatu Mahamah, Local Secretary of the union, said following the slow pace in handling the negotiation, the union requested COPP to convene a meeting within two weeks, which came on and the union were informed that though mandate had not been given, Salary proposals could be discussed.

She said at the meeting a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Union and COPP which, among others, indicated that TEWU members should enjoy 15 per cent salary increase across board, and that, within two weeks COPP will convene another meeting to consider proposals on salaries and conditions of service in line with their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

Contrary to the Union's expectation, Madam Mahamah said on Wednesday, September 22, 2004, COPP informed the union that it was still pursuing the request for mandate to enable it to commence negotiation with the union.

The union sees this as violation of the Memorandum of Understanding and therefore on Friday, October Eight, 2004, the Central Executive Committee of Polytechnics Local Union of TEWU met and after deliberating "extensively on COPP's failure in convening a meeting to commence negotiations on the proposals, gave up to Thursday, October 14, 2004 ultimatum to commence negotiations, she added.

Madam Mahamah said because of COPP's inability to meet the ultimatum, all the unionised members of the Polytechnics decided to lay down their tools "until negotiations begin and we are still waiting".

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