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TUTAG strike: We’ll honour NLC’s directive – Labour Minister

The Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffour Awuah has said the government will adhere to the National Labour Commission’s (NLC) directive for qualified members of the Technical University Teachers Association of Ghana (TUTAG) to be paid their allowances by January 29, 2020.

The NLC after a meeting on Friday among other things asked the government to migrate qualified TUTAG members onto the Single Spine Pay Structure (SSSS).

Mr. Awuah on Eyewitness News said the government will ensure it meets the NLC’s order.

“It is a ruling by the National Labour Commission and we will go by it. The government will do all that it can to make sure that we meet the terms of the ruling. I.e to make sure that payment for the six universities that have submitted the data be done latest by the end of this month and for those who are yet to provide their data, if they are able to do so by the 17th of this month then it will be paid in February so government is going to work with the team and ensure that we meet this deadline.”

This order was reached on Friday after the Commission met with representatives of TUTAG, Ministries of Finance, Education, Employment and Labour Relations, Fair Wages and Salaries Commission and the Controller and Accountant ‘s General’s Department on the way forward to resolve the current impasse.

The NLC also directed TUTAG to call off its strike.

NLC said the union must go back to the lecture halls as the government works to migrate their qualified members to the Single Spine Salary Structure and pay what is due them.

In a four-point directive, the NLC also assured that TUTAG members in institutions that have submitted or yet to submit their data to the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) will be paid their allowances as required.

TUTAG strike began on January 6

TUTAG declared an indefinite strike on January 6, 2020, in protest of the non-payment of allowances due to its members following the conversion of polytechnics to technical universities.

The association was upset that the government did not comply with an earlier ruling by the NLC to ensure that members of the association started receiving allowances due them from December 2019, January 2020 and February 2020.

Speaking to the press on Friday, the Chairman of the Greater Accra branch of TUTAG, Dr Ibrahim Zubairu said there will be a further meeting with the leadership of TUTAG “to decide the way forward” following this development.

We’ll abide by NLC’s ruling

He however assured that TUTAG has “taken the ruling and we are going to go back to abide by it.”

In addition, Dr. Zubairu refuted suggestions that their strike lacked merit.

He stressed that the government had also been given a directive to abide by.

“The commission has given the government a new timeline to enforce the earlier decision the commission made on 28th October 2019… the new timeline is that by 29th of January 2020, the government should pay us our salaries together with public university allowances.”

More directives from NLC:

1. That six (6) out of the eight (8) Technical Universities who submitted their data to the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE_) will be paid their salaries together with the allowances 29th January 2020.

2. That the two technical Universities (Sunyani and Tamale) who are yet to submit their data should do so latest by 17th January 2020 to enable the government to pay their salaries and allowances at the end of February 2020.

3. The Commission also directs that with this intervention, the TUTAG shall call off their strike with immediate effect and return to work.

4. The parties are strongly advised to continue negotiation on the outstanding issues in good faith.