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UTAG, NLC have both failed, negotiation-savvy third party needed – Labour Expert

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Austin Gameh, a Labour Expert has suggested that both the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) and the National Labour Commission (NLC) have failed in their attempts to resolve the current debacle and as such, have compounded the issues at hand.

As such, Mr. Gameh has proposed that a third party, who is truly independent and agreeable to all parties involved, should be involved to help in the mediation of the impasse. Should this fail to happen, the strike action could persist longer while the substantive matter to be resolved would be dragged for a very long time.

Mr. Gameh argued that the court’s directive to UTAG to return to the classroom while negotiations continue would not help the matter. He explained that while the teachers may return to class, their presence in the classrooms could be compared to their absence because of the ineffective teaching and learning activities that would go on.

He made these known when he spoke on A1 Radio’s Day Break Upper East.

“Labour Commission got it wrong the way they got involved, even though, by and large, it is not their fault per se. Generally speaking, the whole process of negotiations, agreements reached and the implementation of same, there has been a shift regarding how industrial relations practices should be handled in this country. Unfortunately, we did not advance our knowledge and capacity to be able to handle this thing the way it is envisaged under the law. We continue to live with the old belief and style in negotiations”.

“When they say NLC has lost its moral right as an independent arbiter, it is because it is not just an arbiter, but it is also the regulator in a way and you cannot be a referee and a player at the same time. So it was difficult for them to get involved and it is difficult for them to invite UTAG to any meeting now, for them to be open to them,” he explained.

Mr Gameh continued to say “let me be blunt with you, it is impossible for the two parties themselves to reach an agreement. Along the line, they broke that chain already. They could not have themselves, agreed to anything at the circumstance. Because Labour Commission did not have the patience enough and drove themselves into the fight, and took the lead into court, the court too did not go the way the law envisaged it, we have created space for the strike to persist”.

Meanwhile, UTAG has said it is disappointed in the current injunction granted by the court against its strike. This is after the National Labour Commission (NLC) prayed the court to direct the lecturers to go back to the classrooms.

A1radioonline.com|101.1MHz|Mark Kwasi Ahumah Smith|Ghana

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