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26.09.2005 General News

POTAG embarks on strike action

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Accra, Sept. 26, GNA - The National Secretariat of the Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG) on Tuesday declared an indefinite strike action and asked all members to comply accordingly with the action.

A statement in Accra signed by Mr Michael Brigandi, General Secretary of POTAG, said the Association had so far been denied the opportunity to negotiate for better salaries and conditions of service, which it wanted to be factored into the 2006 national budget. It, therefore, requested all members to abide by the guidelines given regarding the strike action, following the elapse of the 26 September extension of the ultimatum given to the Government to negotiate with POTAG over their conditions of service.

Mr James Annan, Chairman of the Accra Polytechnic branch of POTAG, told the GNA on Tuesday that members decided to embark on the action because Monday's meeting between its Executives and the Minister of Manpower, Youth and Employment, Mr Joseph Adda failed to address their concerns.

The Minister on Monday announced 22 per cent salary arrears across board for polytechnic teachers with effect from April to September 2005. Mr Adda informed the meeting that the Ministry had received a letter dated September 19, from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, instructing the Controller and Accountant-General to pay the salary increases and arrears from October to November 2005 to POTAG.

Mr Adda assured the meeting that the outstanding issue of negotiations for 2006 salaries and conditions of service would be tackled after a directive from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning was received in order to begin negotiations with POTAG. He told them that the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu was out of the country and expressed the hope that on his return the Ministry would do something about the negotiations. However, Mr Annan the local Chairman of POTAG, told GNA: "What we want is to sit down with the government and review our Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) which expired in 2003 to put in conditions which would improve our general conditions of services".

Meanwhile, at the Accra-Poly Campus, GNA found students busily writing their end of semester examinations with lectures invigilating while other students were seen on the corridors revising their notes. Mr Annan said the Accra-Polytechnic should have been on vacation like its other counterparts by now but "because of interruption of the 2004/2005 academic calendar by strike actions concerning one thing or the other, we are now taking our second semester examinations". He said at present, Accra and the Cape Coast Polytechnics were two out of the 10 institutions in the country, which were still holding classes.

He said the Local branch executives would meet with the Management to determine the next line of action as the examination, which started on September 19 was scheduled to end on October 7.

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