The Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG) will begin an indefinite nationwide strike today. POTAG is protesting the unwillingness on the part of government to pay their Book and Research Allowance for the 2013/2014 academic year.
In a statement to its branches across the country, the association instructed its members to lay down their tools and withdraw all services with immediate effect.
‘’POTAG therefore have no choice than to resort to this action in order to fight for our rights and to defend our conditions of service,’’ the statement said.
POTAG’s General Secretary, Ibrahim Adamu said government has over the years shown little respect for polytechnic education.
‘’ In the midst of this blatant disregard and lack of cooperation by Government, POTAG is left in the woods wondering the kind of obligation that Government has towards Polytechnic Education. We are therefore compelled to advise ourselves and take the necessary steps to fight for our Conditions of Service (B&R Allowance),’’ the statement noted.
Below is the statement from POTAG
Following Congress decision at an Emergency Congress meeting held at Accra Polytechnic on 13th May 2014, POTAG write to inform all chapters that we are to lay down our tools and withdraw all our services with immediate effect. This has become necessary as a result of Governments’ unwillingness and persistent lack of seriousness towards the payment of our Book and Research Allowance for the 2013/2014 Academic Year.
This stance by Government is further aggravated by National Labour Commission’s refusal to even acknowledge us after we had written to inform the NLC of the matter. POTAG therefore have no choice than to resort to this action in order to fight for our rights and to defend our conditions of service. Amongst a litany of issues are;
1. That the Book and Research (B&R) Allowance is part and parcel of POTAG’s negotiated Conditions of Service.
2. That this allowance was negotiated for and agreed upon by both parties and therefore no single party (in this case government) can unilaterally take them off. Indeed POTAG would have unilaterally increased this allowance long ago if it were possible for any single party to vary the terms.
3. We have requested Government through the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) and the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) to take steps to pay us the 2013/2014 Academic Year’s B&R Allowance before the end of the academic year in May. POTAG first made the request in a letter dated 6th January 2014, government was subsequently reminded of this request in letters dated 17th of February 2014 and 18th March 2014 respectively.
4. At a press conference held in Kumasi Polytechnic on the 15th of April 2014, POTAG gave Government an ultimatum of 22nd April 2014 to take immediate steps to pay the allowance.
5. In a letter dated 15th April 2014, we wrote to inform the National Labour Commission (NLC) of Government’s obstinate attitude towards this matter. We also in same letter stated our intention to divulge all legitimate arsenals to fight for this allowance.
6. At a meeting with the Minister of Education on the 22nd April 2014, Government called for documentation, showing proof that the B&R is part of our conditions of service. This in POTAG’s view amounts to feet dragging and a demonstration of lack of commitment by Government.
7. Again at a meeting with the Deputy Minister of Education (Tertiary) on the 13th of April 2014, Government exhibited yet non-commitment to resolving the matter.
8. We believe that this is not a good industrial relations practice by Government and a clear affront to the Labour Act 2003 (Act 651).
In the midst of this blatant disregard and lack of cooperation by Government, POTAG is left in the woods wondering the kind of obligation that Government has towards Polytechnic Education. We are therefore compelled to advise ourselves and take the necessary steps to fight for our Conditions of Service (B&R Allowance). We also wish to remind stakeholders and civil society of Government’s obstinate attitude towards resolving simple and straightforward issues, which would eventually fester and leave serious consequences on manpower development drive in Ghana.
Long Live POTAG
Long Live Polytechnic Education
Long Live Ghana