General News of 2014-04-16

POTAG gives gov’t 7-days to pay book & research allowance

It appears government’s attempt to scrap the book and research allowances paid to teachers of the nation’s tertiary institutions will not come easy Polytechnic Teachers have also indicated their resolve to hold a massive nationwide protest against the move.

Government in November 2013 announced the scrapping of the allowance to be replaced with a research and innovation Fund. An amount of GH¢3.75 million representing 25% of the earmarked funds, was in February released for an account to be opened for the establishment of the fund.

The National Labor Commission has already interrupted an eight-day ultimatum issued to Government by the University Teachers Association of Ghana, UTAG, and has summoned the Ministers of Education and Finance, to come before it for arbitration, and explain why the allowances have not been paid for the 2013/2014 academic year.

National executives of POTAG at a news conference at the Kumasi Polytechnic on Tuesday also issued a seven day ultimatum, asking Government to pay their arrears for 2013/2014 or face their wrath.

POTAG also believes replacing the book and research allowance with a National Research and Innovation Fund, could be a recipe for chaos on the polytechnic front.

POTAG President, James Dubreh, said government has a week to decide and also pay their allowances for 2013/2014 academic year or face their wrath.

“POTAG wishes to express its dissatisfaction and unhappiness over government’s obstinate attitude towards the handling of very mundane and legitimate statutory responsibility. After several letters and reminders from January 2014 to date for government to initiate steps towards the payment of our book and research allowance, government has ignored POTAG with impurity without due recourse members’ rights to dialogue. The B and R allowance is part of the basic working tools for the polytechnic teacher”.

“This allowance is not just given to POTAG members out of generosity or because government have so much money to spare, but was born out of necessity and through countless negotiations between POTAG and government. It, therefore, forms part of POTAG members’ conditions of service; and as such, cannot be scrapped either in part or in whole by any one party”.

“We are by this press release giving government by 22nd of April 2014, to initiate the processes to pay the allowances to POTAG members. Failure to do so, government should be held accountable and responsible for the consequences thereof. POTAG is prepared to divulge every arsenal at its disposal to fight and defend this legitimate allowance. The earlier government resolves this matter, the better polytechnic education in Ghana”.