SOME staff and the Students Representative Council (SRC) of the University College of Environment and Agricultural Studies at Bunso in the Eastern Region are protesting against management of the institution for non-payment of salaries and SSNIT contributions of workers.
According to the agitating staff, they have not been paid their salaries since July 2019 as well as their Social Security contributions which have affected renewal of their National Health Insurance Scheme.
The University College currently has about 30 lecturers but they are demoralized by the non-payment of the salary arrears and poor working environment.
The protesters clad in red slammed management for poor running of the institution.
One of the group leaders, Richard Agboyi, addressing the media indicated that since he started working with the school in 2012 there have been numerous challenges confronting the school particularly about their salaries, sharing that their salaries have not been paid on time, expressing displeasure about the situation.
He said life has been difficult as the school has rescinded to pay their NHIS and has given management one-week ultimatum to get back to tackle the issue with the needed attention and settle their one-year arrears.
He added that management also owes them two years back pay which they have not heard anything about it and has threatened to lodge a complaint to the Chancellor, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin and government for intervention.
Bismark Atimbiri, Principal Technician of the school, lamented that life has been tough for him as a family man after realizing that his NHIS has been deactivated because his SNNIT has not been paid.
He said, the situation at stake has brought up marital problems and has, therefore, spewed out his bitterness about the issue.
The SRC General Secretary, Defaisah Bella also said that “We reopen school somewhere in February and got to realized that non-teaching staff are on strike and that management had to negotiate with the SRC to allow students to take charges in tiding up the compound and other duties that were supposed to be done by the non-teaching staff. It was very bad but we understood and came to a conclusion to select some of the students to take up that mandate but we got to realized that the students too are getting tired in exercising such duty having paid for school fees”
According to her, they engaged and battled with management to seek the issue out till the President, Nana Akufo-Addo announced the closure of schools due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
She said, after the president gave the green light for the final year students to go back to school to complete their academic year, they realized that some of the staff have not been paid for 13 months, expressing worry about the situation.
“Management and stakeholders involves should come and solve this problem ones and for all, because SRC doesn’t want to see this thing again, we’ve been lenient with them enough,” she said.
The University College of Environment and Agriculture (UCAES), a tertiary institution established in 2006 by the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Council under the authority of the Okyenhene, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin as the first university in Africa dedicated to agriculture and environmental studies has since it’s inception going through financial and academic challenges affecting the growth of the University.
The University College of Agriculture and Environmental Studies offers Bachelor of Science (BSc) programmes in Sustainable Agriculture, Agribusiness Management, Environmental Science, Waste Management and Environmental Health.