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UG-UTAG rejects $1,600 research allowance, declares Jan. 3 strike

The University of Ghana, Legon (UG) branch of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG), has rejected a proposal by the government to pay its members $1,600 as research allowance and, thus, declared a strike.

In a letter co-signed by the President and General Secretary Dr Samuel Nkumbaan and Prof Ransford Gyampo, UG-UTAG said it “wishes to advise NEC to respect the UTAG Constitution and the voice of its members, proceed to withdraw its communiqué of 11th November 2021, and duly inform the government of UTAG’s rejection of the Memorandum of Understanding”.

“UG-UTAG is resolved to take a unilateral decision to stand on its resolution of rejection of the MoA, and embark on an indefinite industrial action effective January 3, 2022”, the letter said.

It added: “We call on all other branch members to support our decision to dissociate ourselves from the UTAG National leadership for entering into a deal that does not completely represent the interest of its membership, except perhaps for themselves only”.

Read UG-UTAG’s full statement below:

UG-UTAG RESOLUTION ON NEC’S DECISION TO ACCEPT GOVERNMENT’S PROPOSAL OF USD1,600 RESEARCH ALLOWANCE AND DECLARATION OF STRIKE ACTION

It is recalled that on 6th October 2021, the UTAG Negotiation Team, at a meeting with government representatives, signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) to accept, among others, a Research Allowance of USD 1,600 payable in 2024, and a proposal for the government to complete a Labour Market Survey Report to determine the review of the Interim Market Premium by December 2021 for implementation in 2022.

This decision, however, was subject to approval and ratification by all branch members of UTAG as provided under article XI sec 3 of the UTAG Constitution, which stipulates that “[a]ction by NEC to authorize an industrial action or accept or reject a partial or final collective bargaining agreement shall be advisory only and, in both instances, shall be subject to a final, direct vote of the regular members.”

Consequently, the University of Ghana branch of UTAG (UG-UTAG), at its meeting held on Friday, 17th December 2021, upheld its resolution of 8th October 2021, that overwhelmingly rejected the 6th October 2021 MoA that among others, proposed USD1,600 Research Allowance payable to UTAG members in 2024.

The Friday, 17th December meeting of UG-UTAG also rejected the purported NEC acceptance of the proposed Research Allowance, at its meeting on 11th November 2021.

The decision taken by UG-UTAG in its 8th October 2021 resolution, was supported by six other branch members of UTAG, including KNUST, UDS, UEW, SDD-UBIDS, CKT-UTAS, and UENR.

The other branch members did not issue any such resolutions/letters to express their vote on this matter.

It must be added that even though no formal resolution was submitted by the Ghana Telecom University, its UTAG President indicated membership dissatisfaction of the MoA signed by NEC at the meeting held on 11th November 2021 at the UPSA.

In a communiqué dated 11th November 2021, NEC confirmed acceptance of the MoA on the basis that the remaining 8 branch members that did not submit written resolutions voted in support of the MoA.

UG-UTAG finds this outcome very strange and in violation of the UTAG Constitution. First, there is no written evidence in support of the decisions made by the 8 universities, unlike the clear and unequivocal manner in which the 7 universities that voted against the MoA expressed themselves through a resolution. Further, assuming that evidence to that effect is available (and we subject NEC to strict proof of this), relying on article XVIII sec 2 of the UTAG Constitution, NEC cannot use the decision of the 8 universities to conclude that, based on a majority vote, the MoA should be accepted. The article referred to here, provides that “subject to the provisions of this constitution, decisions at all meetings of the Association, particularly of the NEC shall be determined by a simple majority of members present and voting.”

UG-UTAG and the six other campuses that formally submitted written resolutions to reject the MoA, constitute more than 60 per cent of the entire local membership of UTAG across the country. Therefore, the decision to reject the MoA should be determined by the number of individual members as defined by the UTAG Constitution, but not by the number of branch members. Consequently, NEC’s decision to overturn the decision of the generality of members was unconstitutional and undermines the concept of representation.

In light of the above, UG, by this letter, wishes to advise NEC to respect the UTAG Constitution and the voice of its members, proceed to withdraw its communiqué of 11th November 2021, and duly inform the government of UTAG’s rejection of the MoA.

UG-UTAG is resolved to take a unilateral decision to stand on its resolution of rejection of the MoA, and embark on an indefinite industrial action effective January 3, 2022.

 

We call on all other branch members to support our decision to dissociate ourselves from the UTAG National leadership for entering into a deal that does not completely represent the interest of its membership, except perhaps for themselves only.

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