September 28, 2020

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UTAG threatens strike over non-payment of book and research allowances

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The University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) has threatened to embark on a strike action by Monday, September 14, 2020, if their book and research allowances for the 2019/2020 academic year are not paid.

UTAG noted in a press release that “it is important to note that despite the fact that all the necessary and needed documentation to facilitate the payment of BRA have been presented to the appropriate institutions of Government and the fact that we have been told time and again that payment has been made through the GIFMIS system, no member of UTAG has received their allowances.”

“Countless attempts to see the powers that be in government to see to it that the last academic year’s BRA is paid to its members continue to bear no fruit,” the September 11 statement noted.

Speaking to JoyNews, President of the association Prof Charles Marfo lamented that in spite of the government’s promises to make the payment, it is unfortunate that every year, lecturers have come to come out this way before the payments are effected.

“We always have to come out like this before it is paid. Normally it’s supposed to be paid a bit earlier but this year, the Academic year which supposed to end July 21st has ended long ago and despite all the efforts we have put in and all the correspondents we’ve had with government so that the right thing is done, that is for book and research allowance to be paid within the academic year has not materialized. Government has just failed to heed to our call”, he stressed.

UTAG also says that although it sympathizes with the government over the financial challenges Covid-19 has visited on the economy, it has also taken note of the government’s distribution of freebies and raises in expenditure in other sectors of the economy.

According to the UTAG President, “the point is we are supposed to sympathize with government in these very times, but you will also agree to me that it is within this period that much expenses are being made to other sectors of the economy. Haven’t you heard that freebies are given everywhere, haven’t you heard that even contingencies are being paid for.

“Ours is not a contingency, ours is an established one that somebody should commit itself to. And it’s not that we don’t sympathize, we do sympathize with government very much but we also think that the right thing must be done.”

UTAG says it should not be blamed if the new 2020/2021 academic year is disrupted due to the non-payment of their allowances, but such blame must fall at the doorsteps of government due to its actions and inactions regarding its dealing with the University Teachers Association of Ghana on the payment of their book and research allowances.

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