General News of 2014-08-09

Gov't to freeze salaries of striking poly teachers

The Deputy Minister in charge of Tertiary Education, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has expressed optimism that the impasse between the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) over their book and research allowance will be resolved soon.

He said the ministry had held a meeting with vice chancellors, and expressed the hope that the engagement would yield good results.

He has meanwhile appealed to the lecturers to call off their strike in order not to disrupt the academic calendar of public universities.

On the strike by members of the Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG), Mr Ablakwa, who was speaking in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday, said the government was considering freezing the salaries of the lecturers if all efforts to convince them to return to the classroom failed.

“We have been paying the lecturers their salaries while they are on strike for their book and research allowance. So the government is considering freezing the salaries of the lecturers if all efforts to convince them to return to the classroom fail,” he said.

He claimed that some concerned Ghanaians and student bodies also shared the thoughts of the government in that regard.

According to him, the government has done everything possible to convince the lecturers to return to the classroom but all to no avail, adding that the act worried members of the public.

He described the action by the leadership of POTAG as unfortunate as it was derailing the academic calendar of polytechnics.

Polytechnic lecturers declared a strike in May this year over the non-payment of their book and research allowance.

The situation led to the closure of all polytechnics, thereby disrupting their academic calendar.

On July 24, 2014, university lecturers joined the fray with the declaration of an indefinite strike.

This has led to the postponement of the re-opening of the University of Cape Coast (UCC) indefinitely while other public universities are considering doing same.

Explaining the government’s position on the book and research allowance, Mr Ablakwa said the National Research Fund (NRF) that had been instituted in place of the allowance was the best option, adding that the government was of the view that running the two allowances concurrently would be a duplication.

He said the NRF served a better national interest, more so when every lecturer could access the fund after submitting a research proposal and budget.

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