Legislator for Builsa South and Ranking Member of the Education Committee in Parliament, Dr Clement Apaak has stated that he supports the stance of the University Teachers Association of Ghana not to back down on its industrial action.
He blamed UTAG’s insistence not to call of their industrial action that is into its sixth week now on government bad faith towards concerns regarding their conditions of service.
UTAG has been on strike for six weeks now while calling on the government to provide them with improved working conditions, and currently, UTAG appears not to be swayed by even assurances by the government and court orders secured by the National Labour Commission to compel them to back down.
The Builsa South legislator also called out the government for the prolonged impasse which continues to have a negative impact on students in tertiary institutions nationwide.
“The truth is that UTAG has no faith in the current arrangement and the persons they are dealing with. They do not believe that if they call off the strike, their demands will be met. Based on history, they are worried. UTAG members would like to be in the classroom teaching but they see this as the final push.”
“For UTAG it’s do or die, if they are going to succeed in getting what they want and the state can do whatever they want; and they have said that if the government want to sack all of them, they are willing to be sacked and let’s see if the Ministers can go to the lecture halls and teach”, he said.
The NLC initiated legal action against UTAG after attempts to have UTAG call off its strike failed.
Both parties were ordered by the court to adopt an out-of-court settlement, but the engagements ended inconclusively.
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During Tuesday, February 15, proceedings the NLC’s legal team appealed to the court for an interlocutory injunction against the action by UTAG before the hearing of its substantive case seeking enforcement of its order to UTAG to call off its industrial action.
The NLC’s appeal for an injunction was granted and proceedings have thus been adjourned to February 22, 2022, at 1:30 pm.
But Clement Apaak argued that, although lecturers are mindful of the consequences of the strike on the academic life of students, that is the only option left for them to have their demands met.
“No lecturer will deliberately allow the student to suffer. If you hear that teachers have gone on strike, then it means that all options available to them to seek redress have failed. It means that the state has not been able to give them something substantial to give them hope to go back to the classroom for the remaining to take care of. It is not a lack of failure for even UTAG to signal the government. UTAG has never hidden its intentions with whatever that is going on. UTAG has always intended to take action.”