General News of Friday, 16 August 2013
Source: Daily Graphic
Just a few days into the 2013/2014 academic year, the Federation of Universities Senior Staff Associations of Ghana (FUSSAG) yesterday announced an indefinite nationwide strike in all public universities, beginning from Monday, August 19, 2013.
The association took the decision at an emergency national executive council meeting.
A statement issued by the federation after its meeting, expressed disapproval of the position taken by the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) to refuse the legitimate demands of senior staff of public universities.
The umbrella body of the university administrators maintained that they would only return to work after concerns relating to their migration onto the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) had been addressed.
But reacting to the issues tabled by FUSSAG, Mr Earl Ankrah, the Head of Public Affairs of FWSC told the Daily Graphic issues concerning market premium raised by the association was out of place since they were not part of the interim market premium because it was used to cater for dollar allowances in the past.
“What they are asking for are category two and three allowances which are yet to be implemented. It was clearly stated in the Ho Communique that the policy should be implemented in phases,” he said.
Mr Ankrah,however, said the Public Services Joint Standing Negotiation had began negotiating the base pay of public sector workers of which the FUSSAG had been invited to on Tuesday, August 20, 2013.
The association is demanding compensation for excessive exposure of staff to health and occupational hazards, market premium for senior staff, restoration of electricity rebate and restoration of special allowance.
It, therefore, warned that it would withdraw the services of "all senior staff, including nurses, pharmacists, hospital laboratory technologists, schoolteachers, cashiers and security officers" from Monday, August 19.
The FUSSAG statement urged the “Vice Chancellors Ghana (VCG), the government and the FWSC to take steps to address the concerns to restore industrial harmony and avoid further disruption of the academic calendar of public universities”.
Members of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) have been on a nationwide strike since August 1, 2013 over issues relating to market premium and book and research allowances.
Although the issues relating to the market premium have been resolved, members of UTAG insist that until the book and research allowances are paid they will remain on strike.