University of Ghana, GIJ
University of Ghana, GIJ

The University of Ghana branch of the University Teachers’ Association of Ghana (UG-UTAG) has rejected a decision by the National Executive Council (NEC) of UTAG to approve the Memorandum of Agreement signed with government on October 6, 2021.

They have also declared an indefinite strike action commencing January 3, 2022.

The Memorandum of Agreement is to accept, among others, a research allowance of $1,600 payable in 2024, and a proposal for the government to complete a Labour Market Survey Report to determine the review of the Interim Market Premium by December 2021 for implementation in 2022.

According to UG-UTAG, the decision to approve and ratify the MoA was subjected to a vote by all branch members of UTAG as provided under article XI section 3 of the UTAG constitution and was subsequently rejected.

“Consequently, the University of Ghana branch of UTAG (UG-UTAG), at its meeting held on Friday 17th December 2021, upheld its resolution of 8th October 2021, that overwhelmingly rejected the 6th October 2021 MoA that among others, proposed USD 1600 Research Allowance payable to UTAG members in 2024.

“The Friday 17th December meeting of UG-UTAG also rejected the purported NEC acceptance of the proposed Research Allowance, at its meeting on 11th November 2021,” the statement announcing the strike stated.

It added that six other branch members of UTAG, that is KNUST, UDS, UEW, SDD-UBIDS, CKT-UTAS, and UENR supported their decision to reject the MoA.

“It must be added that even though no formal resolution was submitted by the Ghana Telecom University, its UTAG President indicated membership dissatisfaction of the MoA signed by NEC at the meeting held on 11th November 2021 at the UPSA,” they added.

Thus, it came as a surprise to UG-UTAG when NEC confirmed the acceptance of the MoA in the face of an overwhelming rejection of same by the branch members.

“UG-UTAG finds this outcome very strange and in violation of the UTAG Constitution,” it stated.

According to UG-UTAG, the NEC could not have taken such a decision by assuming the remaining universities that failed to submit resolutions had approved the MoA.

“First, there is no written evidence in support of the decisions made by the eight universities, unlike the clear and unequivocal manner in which the seven universities that voted against the MoA expressed themselves through a resolution.

“Further, assuming that evidence to that effect is available (and we subject NEC to strict proof of this), relying on article XVIII sec 2 of the UTAG Constitution, NEC cannot use the decision of the eight universities to conclude that, based on majority vote, the MoA should be accepted,” it said.

It argued that the membership of UG-UTAG “and the six other campuses that formally submitted written resolutions to reject the MoA, constitute more than 60 percent of the entire local membership of UTAG across the country.”

“Therefore, the decision to reject the MoA should be determined by the number of individual members as defined by the UTAG Constitution, but not by the number of branch members,” it stressed.

Describing the NEC’s decision to overturn the decision of the generality of members as an unconstitutional one which undermines the concept of representation, “UG, by this letter, wishes to advise NEC to respect the UTAG Constitution and the voice of its members, proceed to withdraw its communique of 11th November 2021, and duly inform Government of UTAG’s rejection of the MoA.”

It also communicated its resolution “to take a unilateral decision to stand on its resolution of rejection of the MoA, and embark on an indefinite industrial action effective January 3, 2022.

“We call on all other branch members to support our decision to dissociate ourselves from the UTAG National leadership for entering into a deal that does not completely represent the interest of its membership, except perhaps for themselves only,” it concluded.

Below is the full statement: