Newly sworn-in executives of the National Union of Ghana students (NUGS) have applauded the government for making it possible for the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) to suspend its industrial action.
Addressing President Akufo-Addo at the Jubilee House on Thursday, the President of NUGS, Emmanuel Yiadom Boakye, said the Union is grateful for the government’s efforts aimed at ensuring that the university lecturers resume academic activities.
UTAG leadership, on Wednesday, August 18, signed a memorandum of agreement with government to suspend the strike and continue negotiation, but on condition that all legal suits initiated by government against them are withdrawn.
The National Labour Commission (NLC) has since withdrawn the suit, and the Labour Division of the Accra High Court has struck out the case.
But Emmanuel Yiadom Boakye wants the parties involved in the pending negotiations to approach the process with an open mind in order to find an amicable solution to the demands of the lecturers.
“As a Union, we commend our Minister and other government agencies in their ability to get UTAG to return to negotiations. At the end of the day, we will still plead with both parties to take away all forms of entrenched positions such that the negotiation processes would not be prolonged or delayed” Yiadom Boakye said.
He bemoaned the skyrocketing hostel fees at some public universities.
On that score, they urged the government to address the high accommodation charges in various tertiary institutions across the country.
“As a Union, we have made certain contacts and we have realized there are certain deliberate attempts by some University management staff just to create artificial shortage on campuses.
“We are calling on your high office to get to the university management to be flexible on the Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) policies in the various universities” the NUGS President added.
On the recent licensure exams of trainee teachers and the mass failure of students who wrote the exams, the NUGS President asked for an investigation into the development to know the actual challenges with the examination.
Binding agreement to resolve grievances
President Akufo-Addo, when he addressed the NUGS delegation, noted that the decision of UTAG to suspend its strike is a welcome one.
He assured that the negotiations will continue between government and UTAG to find a permanent solution to the demands of university teachers in the country.
“We are hoping very much that some strong binding arrangement will be finally agreed on by the parties as a roadmap that has been established, and hopefully, both parties will make sure that this roadmap is carefully implemented.
“It is in the interest of all of us to make sure that there is no disruption to academic work in our tertiary institutions,” President Akufo-Addo stated.
On all the other issues raised by the NUGS delegation, President Akufo-Addo assured the Union leadership that his government will give them the necessary attention.
The NUGS delegation
The NUGS delegation that called on the President included the President, Emmanuel Yiadom Boakye, General Secretary, Julius Anthony Kwame, Secretary for Innovation, Faithful Afrani Kesse, Secretary for International Relations, Pius Theophilus Baidoo, David Hughes, Secretary for Welfare and Ohemaa Bediako, Secretary for Women’s Development.