Dr. Kwame Asah-Asante, a political scientist at the University of Ghana, has raised concern over the government’s stance on the University Teachers Association of Ghana’s strike (UTAG).
He called the current standoff “unfortunate,” and hoped that the administration would move quickly to avert it so that academic activities could restart.
“I don’t know why it is dragging like this. It’s a very simple proposal that UTAG has made to the government. And the government is aware that it is legitimate and important. Why this posture of government? As if they don’t want to listen. It’s very unfortunate.”
“But I believe government, in a few days to come, will reflect thoroughly and do the needful. All of us want to build the state. But we cannot build this country on an empty stomach,” he said.
Speaking on the AM Show on Wednesday, he further added that “we also have to have our share of the national cake so that at the end of the day, it brings smiles on the faces of all of us and then we go to work with much dignity and confidence.”
Dr. Asah-Asante, who doubles as the Director of European Studies at UG, called on the government to have meaningful discussions with the university lecturers to avoid the escalation of their industrial action.
UTAG resolved to continue its strike unabated, despite the National Labour Commission’s declaration of the industrial action as illegal.
That decision was reached after the Association’s 15 campuses conducted separate emergency meetings in which each expressed their dissatisfaction with the mandate.
Since students returned to their separate campuses around the country, academic work has been halted for less than a month.
UTAG asks the government to examine paying a more realistic annual research allowance “since this is crucial to our research output, promotion, and eventually national development,” among other things.
They also want the 114 percent Interim Market Premium from 2013 reinstated.
According to UTAG, the strike will not be called off until their demands for better working conditions are met.