October 22, 2021
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Universities Reject Government-UTAG Agreement

Students at public universities across the country or those planning to start studies in one, in the next academic year should expect some disruptions from January 2022.

This is because lecturers have rejected agreements reached between the national leadership and government over their conditions of service.

The UTAG branches of the Universities of Ghana (UG), Development Studies (UDS), Energy and Natural Resources (UENR), Education Winneba (UEW) in a strongly worded letter to UTAG National say the $1,600 each agreed for research allowance, and entry point salary value for lecturers cannot be accepted.

It’s been a long-running battle between lecturers of the country’s public universities and the government over their conditions of service.

UTAG is demanding the implementation of a 2012 Single Spine package which puts entry-level lecturers on a salary of $2,084.

But negotiations have been checkered with UTAG threatening industrial actions.

In August, they were forced to call off their strike following a court order as the National Labour Commission (NLC) triggered a compulsory arbitration process.

That did not achieve much until emergency talks between UTAG’s negotiating team and government representatives led to some agreements this week. But UTAG members are rejecting them.

In a letter to the UTAG leadership, the universities say they overwhelmingly reject the said amount of $1600 payable by 2024, agreed in the Memorandum of Agreement by the UTAG Negotiation Team and accepted by the National Executive Committee of UTAG, as research allowance.

They contend that in place of $1600 agreed, their members shall only accept the cedi equivalent, which they say represents lecturers’ entry point salary value in 2013.

The local UTAGs have already served notice they will embark on strike starting in January 2022, when the academic year is scheduled to begin unless its demand is met.

They added that they are awaiting the outcome of the Labor Market Survey scheduled for December 2021 to resume negotiations with the government on the Market Premium and Basic Salary.

And finally, they are demanding that the negotiating team be reconstituted to draw on the expertise of members selected across public universities to ensure professional discussions during negotiations and quality outcomes beneficial to UTAG Members.

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