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UTAG, SSA and FUSSAG Strike: Full Press Release by Uni. Students Association of Ghana

UTAG, SSA and FUSSAG Strike: Full Press Release by Uni. Students Association of Ghana

STATEMENT BY THE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS ASSOCIATION OF GHANA
(USAG) ON THE INDUSTRIAL STRIKE BEING EMBARKED ON BY UTAG, SSA,
& FUSSAG


Good Afternoon ladies and gentlemen of the Press.

On behalf of USAG, I would like to thank all media houses present here today, as well as
those monitoring this briefing online. Again, I am thankful to the Executive committee and Senate for their show of leadership and direction in the matter for which reason we have gathered here today.


Ladies and gentlemen, the leadership of USAG is challenged at this time in the history of the Ghanaian student. Ordinarily, my first address to students in such a manner should have been one of good tidings. Unfortunately, for us, we are here to address a situation that has set the teeth of the union on edge as it has the propensity to affect the academic life of students.


Until 15
th June, 2020, all schools including universities in the country were closed down due to the emergence of COVID-19. The closure of schools stalled almost all academic activities in the country. During this period, students could not enjoy the best of academic life.

One would have thought, however, that the reopening of schools in June 2020 was an opportunity for students especially, those in the Universities to recoup all the precious days lost. Ladies and gentlemen, I am sad to tell you that this has not been the case.

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On 11th September 2020, just barely three months into the reopening of schools by the
President of the Republic, the National Executives of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) threatened to embark on a nationwide strike over what they called “Delay in the Payment of UTAG’s Books and Research Allowances”.

Just nine months after that action by UTAG, the Senior Staff Association of Universities of Ghana (SSA-UoG) on 18th May, 2021 embarked on an industrial strike over what they called “unfair labour practice”. Ladies and gentlemen, in all these instances, while these strike actions are always targeted at the government (the sole employer), the Ghanaian students are left in a miserable and helpless state.


The latest of this cycle of strike actions is the one declared by UTAG and SSA-UoG on
Wednesday, 28
th July 2021, and Friday 30th July, 2021 respectively. In their press statements, these most important pillars in the teaching and learning as well as administrative work in the various academic offices have officially laid down their tools and have promised never to return anytime soon.

Friends in the media, the saddest aspect is that the current strike has no timelines as it is indefinite. This move does not only threaten the psychological well-being of students as they fear for their future, but it also casts in stone the quality of education this country is giving or ready to give to its citizens.

The press statement from the government signed by Hon Bright Wireko Brobey is not refreshing enough as it lacks specificity and definite timelines. It is high time the government showed more seriousness in this matter, the better for all stakeholders.

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UTAG has had cause to complain on numerous occasions about the unwillingness on the part of the government to negotiate as demonstrated in the sending of representatives of Ministers who lack the authority to commit to any meaningful conclusions anytime these engagements come up. This is unacceptable and cannot and should
not be allowed to continue.

We from the University Students Association of Ghana with the sole mandate to protect and advance the interest of all university students in the country as sworn on oath wish to communicate the following in an equivocal terms:


1. We entreat government, within the next few days (2 days i.e. Tuesday and
Wednesday), to engage the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) and
the Senior Staff Association of Universities of Ghana (SSA-UoG) with the aim of
addressing the issues in a manner both parties will be satisfied with.

2. We ask the Government of Ghana to demonstrate good faith in its dealings with the
unions in the negotiation process. In its statement, UTAG blamed the stalled
negotiation process on bad faith consistently demonstrated by the government. As a
government that trumpets quality education, we believe this should be the avenue for
the government to achieve what it has always been preaching.


3. In the meantime, the University Students Association of Ghana (USAG) would want
to appeal to the leadership of the unions (UTAG and SSA-UoG) to consider the plight
of students and unconditionally withdrew, suspend and call off the industrial action
while negotiating with government, labour union, and other stakeholders on their
demands.

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4. Currently, most of our students are preparing for their mid-semester assessments, and end of semester examinations and we believe this strike will have a negative toll on
them psychologically and academically. It is on the backdrop of this that we plead
with UTAG especially to halt their strike on teaching and its related activities and join
students in class to continue academic work.

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5. We would also like to take this opportunity to admonish all students of the various
universities to stay calm and focused on their studies whilst the issues are being
resolved.


6. We charge all Students Representative Councils (SRCs) at the various institutions to
be responsive to the needs, and concerns of students in these critical times.

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7. In the interest of all students, USAG will continue the fight till these issues are
resolved.


Thank you

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