Dr. Asah-Asante

A political scientist at the University of Ghana, Dr Kwame Asah-Asante, has expressed worry over the government’s posturing in the strike by the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG).

He described the current impasse as unfortunate and hoped that the government would urgently take steps to salvage the situation to ensure that academic activities resume.

“I don’t know why it is dragging like this. It’s a very simple proposal that UTAG has made to government. And government is aware that it is legitimate and important. Why this posture of government? As if they don’t want to listen. It’s very unfortunate.”

“But I believe government, in a few days to come, will reflect thoroughly and do the needful. All of us want to build the state. But we cannot build this country on an empty stomach,” he said.

Speaking on the AM Show on Wednesday, he further added that “we also have to have our share of the national cake so that at the end of the day, it brings smiles on the faces of all of us and then we go to work with much dignity and confidence.”

Dr Asah-Asante, who doubles as the Director of European Studies at UG, called on the government to have meaningful discussions with the university lecturers to avoid the escalation of their industrial action.

UTAG resolved to continue its strike unabated, despite the National Labour Commission’s declaration of the industrial action as illegal.

That resolution was reached after the 15-member campuses of the Association held independent emergency meetings during which each of them expressed their disagreement with the directive.

Academic work has stalled for barely a month since students reported to their respective campuses across the country.

Among other things, UTAG wants the government to reconsider the payment of its annual research allowance to a more realistic allowance “as this is critical to our research output, promotion and ultimately national development.”

They also want the 2013 Interim Market Premium of 114% of Basic Salary restored.

According to UTAG, until their demands for improved conditions of service are met, they cannot call off the strike.