A Deputy Ranking Member on the Education Committee in Parliament, Dr. Clement Apaak, has backed the insistence of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) not to return to the lecture halls until their demands are met.
He says, the decision of the union not call off its six-week old industrial action is borne out of the bad faith exhibited by the government in the past over similar concerns about conditions of service in previous years.
UTAG has been on strike demanding improved working conditions, but not even assurances by the government and court orders secured by the National Labour Commission will compel the striking lectures to back down.
Speaking on Face to Face on Citi TV, Dr. Apaak, also the Member of Parliament for Builsa South, blamed the government for the prolonged impasse which continues to have a negative impact on students in tertiary institutions nationwide.
â€œThe truth is that UTAG has no faith in the current arrangement and the persons they are dealing with. They do not believe that if they call off the strike, their demands will be met. Based on history, they are worried. UTAG members would like to be in the classroom teaching but they see this as the final push.â€
â€œFor UTAG it itâ€™s do or die, if they are going to succeed in getting what they want and the state can do whatever they want; and they have said that if the government want to sack all of them, they are willing to be sacked and letâ€™s see if the Ministers can go to the lecture halls and teachâ€, he said.
The NLC dragged UTAG to court after attempts to have UTAG call off its strike failed.
The court on two occasions ordered both parties to adopt an out-of-court settlement, but the engagements ended inconclusively.
During proceedings on Tuesday, February 15, the NLCâ€™s legal team appealed to the court for an interlocutory injunction against the action by UTAG before the hearing of its substantive case seeking enforcement of its order to UTAG to call off its industrial action.
The injunction was granted and proceedings have thus been adjourned to February 22, 2022, at 1:30pm.
But Clement Apaak argued that, although lecturers are mindful of the consequences of the strike on the academic life of students, that is the only option left for the them to have their demands met.
â€œNo lecturer will deliberately allow the student to suffer. If you hear that teachers have gone on strike, then it means that all options available to them to seek redress have failed. It means that the state has not been able to give them something substantial to give them hope to go back to the classroom for the remaining to take care of. It is not a lack of failure for even UTAG to signal the government. UTAG has never hidden its intentions with whatever that is going on. UTAG has always intended to take action.â€