The Technical University Teachers Association (TUTAG) has called off its two-week long strike following a meeting with the government and other stakeholders to resolve the issues.
After the crunch meeting, the government and its agencies agreed to pay all allowances due eligible TUTAG members, such as rent, security, maintenance, utility and off campus allowances.
The payments are to be effected by December 2019, while the arrears that were due them since August 2019 would be paid by the end of February 2020.
Following the fruitful meeting, the National Labour Commission (NLC) directed members of TUTAG to end the strike immediately.
The Executive Secretary of the NLC, Mr Ofosu Adamoah, who confirmed the road map to the Daily Graphic, said it was expected that “by tomorrow TUTAG members will move back to the classrooms for smooth academic work.”
The ruling followed a meeting with the NLC, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, TUTAG executive, the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE), the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission and the Controller and Accountant General’s Department to discuss the concerns of TUTAG and arrive at a road map.
Mr Adamoah said: “All of us came to the agreement. We have resolved all the issues.They are going back to the classrooms.”
He said all the parties that took part in the meeting were the ministers and heads of institutions and all of them made a firm commitment to the decision.
“So, it was not attended by representatives, but the sector ministers and the heads of the respective institutions and so the decisions cannot be rejected,” he stated.
Good for students
The Minister of State in charge Tertiary Education, Prof. Kwesi Yankah, said the breakthrough was a relief for the students who had been without lecturers for almost three weeks, as well as other stakeholders.
He said it was also good news for TUTAG and staff of the universities and an opportunity for teaching to be restored on campuses for academic work to continue.
Prof. Yankah said the ruling was timely because if the strike had continued for two or more days the authorities would have been forced to close down the universities.
Reacting to the ruling, the Executive Secretary of the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE), Professor Mohammed Salifu, described it as a huge relief not only to the government, but the students as well.
He said in actual fact, the TUTAG strike was needless because there were clear indications that their needs would be met.
Prof. Salifu said the government had always maintained that the issue of allowances was a legitimate one and, therefore, did not require a strike.
Eligibility and entitlement
He said the fact remained that the allowances were not just across board but that it had to be based on “eligibility and entitlement”, citing for instance that with the vehicle maintenance allowance, the person must prove ownership of a vehicle to be eligible.
“It means you have to bring your original documents to prove that you have bought a car to be used for official work and of course personal use,” Prof. Salifu explained.
He said the staff must have to be validated, adding that even though the condition of service stated that a certain category of staff were eligible for vehicle maintenance allowance, “if you do not have a vehicle, you do not get it.”