President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo must apologize to all teachers in the country, the National Deputy Tertiary Education Institutions Network (TEIN) Coordinator Mr Ekow Djan, has said.
Without the apology, he said, members of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) will not return to the lecture halls to teach.
UTAG is unwilling to return to work despite the court injunction secured by the National Labour Commission (NLC).
They are demanding the restoration of a 2012 Single Spine Salary Structure agreement that would see entry-level lecturers earn the cedi equivalent of $2,084 monthly.
A statement issued by Mr Ekow Djan said “For UTAG to return to the classroom, President Akufo-Addo must render an unqualified apology to ALL TEACHERS in Ghana
“Secondly, the NLC & the President must learn to respect teachers at all times for their service to nation. Lastly, all allowances due teachers must be paid.”
Meanwhile, UTAG says they feel bullied following the National Labour Commission (NLC)’s injunction to have them return to work.
Speaking in an interview with sit-in-host of the First Take, Nancy Vukanea on 3FM Monday August 9, the National UTAG President, Professor Charles Marfo said “We are just saying that this is where we were [but] standards have fallen so much and so please could we do the market survey that you said we will do and in two years it has not been done. If you cannot do it could you just place us where we were earlier?”
Asked whether they feel bullied by the government, he said “That is what is infuriating my people because they are not kids.
“When you are called to the table and something is offered and you object to it or reject it you are only asking for something better but somebody says it is off the table and I am going to take you to Labour Commission and trust me you will lose.
“We are just doing what our people are asking us to do, we are doing the right thing. If it is wrong I know the lawyers will tell us and we will be the first people to stop whatever we are doing.”
The Executive Secretary of the NLC Ofosu Asamoah, has however pointed out that his outfit is seeking a contempt of court charges against the UTAG for disobeying the order to call off their strike.
He said the UTAG should be held for contempt for disobeying the orders of the court to end their strike to go back to the classroom because they are in negotiation with their employer with the National Labour Commission as their mediator.
Mr Asamoah said the NLC will go back to court to cite UTAG for contempt for not respecting the court’s decision on the matter.
He said the NLC is receiving conflicting reports from UTAG members, some of them saying they are going to consult their lawyers on the matter and in some cases they say they are going to consult their members on the matter as well.”
Mr Asamoah thus added that the NLC has been monitoring the situation in the media concerning the response from UTAG and that if it is established that they are defying the orders of the court by the end of today, they will go back to the court to inform the court that its orders have been defied.
He stated that this is not the first time that a union will be cited for contempt, although the first one purged themselves by rendering public apology to the court and then refraining from their strike action.
Mr Asamoah also cited the example of the College of Education teachers when they embarked on an illegal strike that resulted in the forfeiture of their salaries in the process.
He said this in an interview with TV3’s Daniel Opoku on Monday, August 9, while reacting on the back of the ongoing strike action by the UTAG that infringes the Labour dispute law in the country, as ordered by the court.
“Defying the court directive is a disrespect to the court so they will be held in contempt. We will go back to court and cite them for contempt for disobeying the court’s directive and the court will take a decision on them”, he pointed out.
He added “if the UTAG goes on, yes in the case of the court, the court will punish them and on the part of their employers, their employment will be terminated without notice. They could be made to lose their salaries or allowances over the period in which they engage in the illegal strike and the leadership of the union will be responsible for any loss or damages arising from the illegal strike”.
He admonished UTAG to call off the strike as directed by the National Labour Commission and affirmed by the court, by appearing before the commission on Wednesday, August 11.