Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffour-Awuah has assured the Universities Teachers Association (UTAG) that negotiations would be conclude immediately if they call off their strike.
Mr Baffour-Awuah said the government is willing to continue the negotiations with the union if they end the strike.
“Government has acted in in good faith and is ever willing to continue negotiations with UTAG. We want due process to be followed and I have given them an assurance that if today they call off the strike, I wouldn’t mind asking that we lock ourselves in the room and make sure that we finish negotiations before we come out.
“So, government is ever willing to sit down UTAG and we have always demonstrated that willingness to negotiate with them,” the Member of Parliament for Sunyani West said on the floor of Parliament on Thursday February 17.
Meanwhile, the Ranking member on the Education Committee of Parliament, Mr Peter Nortsu-Kotoe has revealed that the UTAG has agreed in principle call off their strike.
”After listening to the cases, we realised that there will be the need for more dialogue. We finally appealed as a committee to UTAG to call off the strike which they agreed in Principle. We expect they call off the strike today and then continue with the negotiations,” Peter Nortsu-Kotoe told journalists after a meeting with UTAG, the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations and the Education Committee and also the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission.
This comes after the Labour Division of the Accra High Court has granted an interlocutory injunction application filed against the strike by UTAG by the National Labour Commission (NLC).
Speaking to journalists after court proceedings on Tuesday, February 15, lawyer for the UTAG Kwesi Keli-Deletaa said: “The motion was seeking to enforce the directive of the [National] Labour Commission, which was filed before the injunction application was filed.
“In our view, the main motion which is seeking to enforce the directive of the NLC should have been heard first but the judge thought otherwise and decided that the injunction application should be heard first and the outcome of that application is what you all witnessed in court today, the judge decided to grant the interlocutory injunction application.”
The NLC had ruled that the strike by UTAG, embarked upon on Monday, January 10, was illegal.
This was after a meeting with the labour unions and the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations held on Thursday, January 13.
After the meeting, Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Relations Bright Wireku Brobbey told journalists that the government was expecting that the unions did the needful.
“In the spirit of transparency and very mutual respect for them, they have assured them that whatever allowance is due them because they were captured in the 2022 budget [by] January they are going to be paid,” he had said on that day.
“Therefore, the Commission has directed that they go and call off the strike immediately.”
But UTAG failed to call off the strike, a situation that forced the NLC to go to court to enforce its order.
The court earlier asked the two parties to settle this issue out of its jurisdiction but that did has not happened until Tuesday, when the injunction application by NLC was granted.