Universities Senior Staff Association refuse to call off strike despite assurances from govt

Striking members of the Universities Senior Staff Association say they remain unconvinced despite assurances by government to address their concerns through negotiations.

The Employment and Education Ministers as well as officials of the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission, representing government, met leadership of the Association Wednesday, May 19 and promised to further negotiate with the group to resolve their grievances.

But leadership of the Association insists the Wednesday, May 19 meeting cannot compel them to rescind their decision.

“We met the Minister of Education, Labour, GTech Director, Representatives from Controller and Accountant General’s Department but the discussion doesn’t necessitate us to call off the strike. So the strike is still on until our demands are met,” George Ansong, President of the KNUST branch, insists.

The meeting followed the Association’s decision to deploy a task force to move from campus to campus to ensure strict compliance with the directive to stay away from work.

Over 6,000 members of the Association in 10 public universities laid down their tools Wednesday, May, 19 in protest over poor working conditions and failure of the government to pay accrued pensions.

But despite government’s assurance of further negotiations during the meeting, the Association insists it will remain on strike.

Visits to some campuses revealed that majority of the members had vacated their posts.

Some members who were found on duty in defiance of the strike, were sent packing by the task force.

Mr. George Ansong is happy about the level of compliance.

“I must give my members 99.8 per cent. But there are just a few of them who may be, I don’t know whether they didn’t hear of the strike or something. And because of that, we are doing a mop-up to drive all of them away. So we are delighted,” he said.

The action which entered its second day Thursday, May 20 is already taking a toll on academic work.

“I am doing some analysis, so I went to the Department of Chemistry to consult their laboratory as to whether they can carry on the analysis.

“I learnt that lab demonstrators were on strike, so it was impossible. As a result, I couldn’t be able to carry out my analysis, and it’s something that affects the progress of my work,” a frustrated student, Marvie Reed, said.

He is scared the strike could affect the duration of his current research project.

“It is possible that I may not be able to complete my research on time since time is of essence,” he added.

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