NLC BOSS, Mr Ofosu Asamoah
NLC BOSS, Mr Ofosu Asamoah

The National Labour Commission (NLC) says the ongoing industrial action by the Senior Staff Association of Public Universities in Ghana (SSA-UoG) and the Federation of Universities Senior Staff (FUSSAG) is impeding efforts to address their grievances.

Speaking to JoyNews, the Executive Secretary of the NLC, Ofosu Asamoah, said his attempts to persuade the striking group to abandon the industrial action in favour of negotiations have been unsuccessful. 

He believes that prolonging the strike will derail efforts to resolve their issues. 

Mr. Asamoah consequently expressed hope that the Senior Staff would call off their strike immediately to make room for a scheduled meeting next week.

“There has been a complaint and a response, so we now have to bring the parties together and see the way forward. Either the Commission will settle it summarily, or there will be mediation or an arbitration. 

“So the two parties must come together, then, with the Commission’s assistance, we look at the thing and see the issue at stake, and that’s why we invited them.

“Unfortunately, the senior staff are saying that they committed to their schedule so they couldn’t come, but they can make it on the 24th, and we communicated to the other party.

“The only issue for now is that of the strike which has started. Whenever there is a strike, issues must be attended to urgently,” he said.

Commenting on whether the NLC made efforts to prevent the Senior Staff from embarking on the strike, Mr Asamoah asserted, “We did, by first writing to those against whom the complaint has been made, that this is what the Senior Staff Association is saying. What are you doing to avert the strike? We had in our letter that they should apprise the Commission of what steps they are taking within these days, and then we fixed the date to meet the two parties. That is what was done.”

His remark follows the strike initiated by the Senior Staff Association of Public Universities in Ghana (SSA-UoG) and the Federation of Universities Senior Staff (FUSSAG) on Thursday, January 19 to demand improved conditions of service, payment of their tier-two pension arrears and a restoration of their overtime allowances. 

But speaking in an interview with JoyNews’ PM Express on Thursday, January 18, the National President of the Association, Isaac Donkoh stated that they were willing to call off their strike and return to the negotiation table if the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC) withdrew its denial about their overtime allowance.

“I think we are gradually getting somewhere, and once my good friend has spoken, we are taking it in good faith. I think we still have the second letter in circulation, so they should write and withdraw the second letter. We have to also get the two people to intervene, and then we are good to go,” he said. 

Commenting on whether the strike can be suspended while they pursue the other issues of regarding the interests of the students, Mr Donkoh said; “That is not anything difficult to do. I can’t assure you on the phone, but it’s nothing difficult. I will have a discussion, and then we’ll take it from there, so it is nothing difficult at all.”

For his part, the Chief Executive Officer of the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission, Ben Arthur, said the action of the senior staff is unfortunate.

“That letter was rejected. It was not directed at public universities where the infraction had been reported. So way back on June 30th, 2023, as my good friend Isaac has alluded to, the matter should be resolved. So if we have any issues, any non-compliance for which you have noticed, then it is only fair that you come back to us to resolve the matter,” he said.