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We sympathize with students but we must fight for our welfare – UTAG

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The President of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG), Professor Charles Marfo, says the association sympathizes with students who have been negatively affected by the ongoing strike.

He however says this is the only viable approach in fighting for their welfare.

He told Citi News that the situation could have been prevented if the government had acted in good faith and given them their due.

He said the association did its best by giving adequate time for the National Labour Commission to intervene, but nothing was done.

“We sympathize with the students. This is the effect we knew our strike will have, that is why we didn’t just jump into it. Three clear weeks to the strike, we notified the National Labour Commission about the lackadaisical attitude of government towards negotiations about our conditions of service”.

“One would have thought that somebody would have taken us seriously but, as usual, we hardly even got a meeting with them… It is unfortunate, but we have to see to our needs too.”

UTAG members have been on strike since the beginning of August because they want the government to restore the conditions of service agreed upon in 2012 which they said was far better than the current situation.

The strike by UTAG has severely affected academic and some non-academic work at the various tertiary campuses.

The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, University of Ghana and other tertiary institutions have already announced a suspension of examinations due to the situation, with no end in sight for the strike.

Meanwhile, the National Labour Commission (NLC), has secured an interlocutory injunction to compel the University Teachers Association of Ghana to call off the strike.

However, Prof. Marfo said its National Executive Committee is yet to take a decision on whether or not to call off the strike based on the development.

“When the NEC meets, and they think that what the government or the courts are demanding we have to go by them, we will… It is unfortunate that when we have not been heard, we will be dragged to court. It seems like people are using power unnecessarily because they have it, so they can use it to force us to go into the classroom… If you force us to the classroom,  can you force us to teach?” he quizzed.

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