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General News of Wednesday, 23 February 2022


UTAG Vs NLC: Court rules March 9

File Photo: Logos of NLC and UTAG File Photo: Logos of NLC and UTAG

The Labour Division of the Accra High Court, has adjourned to March 9, 2022 to rule on an application filed by the National Labour Commission, NLC, against the University Teachers Association of Ghana, UTAG, urging the Court to enforce its directives.

It is the case of the NLC that the strike declared by UTAG on January 10 was illegal because the Union did not follow due process as set out in the Labour Act.

Counsel for the NLC, Eva Amihere, argued that the issue for which UTAG embarked on strike, had already been settled.

She said a news report suggested that the Association was embarking on the strike because it complained of an alleged failure by the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission, to furnish members with the Labour Market Survey report.

Madam Amihere said, on the contrary, the report had already been supplied to UTAG, but according to the Association the report came in late.

She said following the reportage, the NLC invited the UTAG, Fair Wages Salaries Commission, and other stakeholders like the Ministers of Education, Finance and Employment and Labour Relations to a meeting to resolve the issue.

At the said meeting UTAG also alleged that it had served notice to the NLC of its intention to go on strike, but further investigation revealed otherwise.

Arguing further, Counsel for the NLC, Eva Amihere said UTAG had other pertinent issues that needed to be addressed and accordingly directed the Association to call off the strike and submit all outstanding issues for redress.

She said this was agreed on by all parties and so the NLC was surprised that UTAG defied directives to call off the strike.

Counsel for UTAG, Kwesi Keli-Delataa however disagreed with the submission by Madam Amihere.

It was the case of UTAG that the hearing of the NLC which led to the directives was gravely flawed on the grounds of procedure.

Mr. Keli-Delataa argued that the invitation sent to the parties in itself constituted a violation.

He submitted that if a statute is breached, the court cannot endorse it.

He argued further that the NLC did not act fairly and reasonably by failing to give UTAG reasonable notice as required under principles of natural justice.

He was of the view that claims by the NLC that UTAG violated the Labour Act will be irrelevant if the court finds that the Commission breached statutes and on that basis, the application must fail.

Mr. Keli-Delataa further submitted that the application lacks merit and is incapable of judicial enforcement.

Madam Amihere in a response argued that the counsel for UTAG misunderstood the Labour Act and explained that the NLC was deliberate because it was aware that the parties were at the negotiation stage.