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UTAG, TUTAG, CETAG, GNAT, NAGRAT et al don’t trust gov’t anymore – Prof. Avea Nsoh

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Teacher Unions at the pre-tertiary and tertiary level of education may no longer have faith in the government to permanently resolve issues concerning their conditions of service. 

Over the past few months, there has been some labour unrest in the country’s education sector. The whole labour force in the education industry at one point went on strike. In response to the nomination of a non-professional teacher as the Director-General of the Ghana Education Service, pre-tertiary teacher unions went on strike.

For the unions at the tertiary level, UTAG, TUTAG, CETAG have proceeded on strike over their conditions of service.

It would be recalled that the leadership of the Technical University Teachers Association of Ghana (TUTAG) said its strike action will continue to linger on until its employer commits to resolving the challenges impeding its work. 

According to the Association, the employer’s lackadaisical attitude in resolving the challenges raised is the reason for the strike. 

The issues tagged as codified conditions of service have been on the government’s table since 2016 until the 18th of November 2022 when members decided to go on indefinite strike.  

Speaking on A1 Radio, the Association’s President, Professor Ameyaw Collins indicated that their conditions of service go beyond money.

Meanwhile, the President of University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) at the C.K Tedam University of Technology and Applied Sciences Dr. Jonas Bugase says until the government meets their demands, or at least gives a promise of same, the the association’s strike would continue.

Four labour unions in the public universities; University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG), Ghana Association of University Administrators (GAUA), Teachers and Educational Workers Union of Ghana (TEWU) and the Senior Staff Association of Universities of Ghana (SSA-UoG)  declared a strike October 13, 2022 over the failure of  government to settle their fuel and non-payroll allowances.

The actions and inactions of the government has put it in a precarious situation as the teacher unions can longer trust what the government says it would do. This can have dire consequences on the budget. 

“Everything about this budget is about trust factor. Now you have teacher unions, including my own unions and other tertiary unions all on strike or threatening to go on strike. Now the budget could be there but once you have the trust of these unions that you are committed to engaging with them at all times and that you are going to be very transparent when dealing with them, then clearly, you have a budget that is not going to be shaken at all. What happens to the budget is that, along the way, we get some unexpected expenditures. That means you will have to find a way to engineer things. Then it would be expected that the government would be able to show the unions that they are engaging with that they are trustworthy. Unfortunately, the government has fallen short of this. Going into the budget, whatever we are going to see in the budget, they are going to oppose it.”

Professor Ephraim Avea Nsoh, a Professor of Linguistics at the University of Education Winneba and former Upper East Regional Minister made these comments on A1 Radio’s Day Break Upper East Show today, Tuesday, November 22, 2022. He was sharing his thoughts on what should be contained in the 2022 Budget Statement and Financial Policy to help better the education sector. 

Professor Avea Nsoh continued to say, “look at the negotiations with UTAG, you agree with something that should be implemented automatically and it gets there and you don’t do it. You agree with teacher unions on something and it gets to the time and you don’t do it and then you rely on the labour commission to take people to court and it is the same kind of strategy that makes people angry. Look at how the unions stormed out of there angrily. How would these people listen to you?”

According to Professor Avea Nsoh, the government cannot have the support of the teacher unions. Even worse for the government is that it would not have the support of members of its own Members of Parliament, should the budget be read by the embattled Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta.

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

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