According to Edmond Kombat, SRC president of the University of Ghana, there is great assurance that the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) will be calling off its strike action by Monday or Tuesday.
Exactly a week ago, UTAG embarked on an indefinite strike to demand for monies owed them by the government, bringing almost all academic activities on public university campuses across the country to a halt.
In a statement signed by the UTAG president Dr. Anthony Simmons, the teachers said they will withdraw all teaching services in all public universities to back their demands for immediate payment of all salary arrears owed its members since 2012. Dr Simons said UTAG will not back down till all their demands have been met.
A few lecturers however still went about their duties, holding lectures and tests much to the disappointment of some students of the University of Ghana we spoke to. Other students of the University on the other hand felt that the strike was to their detriment and threatened to demonstrate against government for failing to convince striking teachers to call off their strike, allowing them to be used as a bargaining chip. Edmond Kombat stated in an interview with Citifm that the on-going industrial action will distort their academic calendar and leave students at a disadvantage.
A meeting held by government with the leadership of UTAG, last week Wednesday, to find an amicable solution failed to reach a consensus because the leadership of UTAG refused government’s proposition to pay the arrears owed them in three instalments. They insisted that government must pay the amount in full, lamenting that the arrears, to the tune of about 10 million cedis, was a small amount for a country like Ghana. The leaders of UTAG said that the mandate given to them by the teachers was that “until we have the money in full, we dare not call off the strike”.
As to whether those demands have now been met or whether UTAG has been able to come to a consensus with government, we cannot say for sure. Nevertheless, the SRC president of the University of Ghana has posted on his facebook page that the teachers will be returning to the lecture halls by Monday or Tuesday. He thanked fellow student leaders of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) for their efforts in a meeting held with the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) and UTAG but did not disclose any details of the meeting or give reasons for the return of the teachers.