UTAG declares indefinite strike


University teachers in the country have joined the fray of discontented public sector workers who have laid down their tools, declaring an indefinite strike over nonpayment of book and research allowances.

The decision to leave the lecture halls of public universities was taken at a meeting on Wednesday at the University of Education, Winneba, according to a statement.

President of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) – which is the umbrella body of public university teachers – said government is yet to acknowledge the many letters they have written on their 2014/2015 Book & Research Allowance hence the sudden decision to strike.

Dr. Samuel Ofori Bekoe stated that UTAG members will not take part in any academic work until their demands are met.

UTAG has over the years battled with government over similar demands.

Government has been pushing for the conversion of the book and research allowance into a research fund to be disbursed when an interested lecturer wants support for research, the university teachers disagree

“We expect that the [book and research allowance] should not be scrapped and should co-exist with the national research fund”, General Secretary for University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) Samuel Atintonoo told Joy News last year.

UTAG is holding on this view despite an assurance by government to pay the book and research allowance for 2013/14, which became the teacher’s rallying point for the strike.

In 2014, the association embarked on a five-week strike to compel government to release their book and research allowances.

Government has in recent times been hit with a number of strikes from the public sector.

Doctors, the Government and Hospital Pharmacists Association (GHOSPA) are currently on strike to demand better working conditions.

Meanwhile President John Mahama has said he will not succumb to pressure from labour especially as elections approach.

He said he will not spend beyond the national budget – a declaration that has further angered the agitating public sector workers.

SOURCE: myjoyonline