The Technical University Workers Association of Ghana (TUWAG), has served notice that it will soon join the sit-down strike embarked on by the Technical University Teachers Association (TUTAG) last week.
TUTAG, last Wednesday declared an indefinite strike, vowing to only return to their lecture halls when their demands for migration onto the conditions of service enjoyed by their counterparts in traditional public universities are met
According to TUWAG, they share the concerns expressed by TUTAG, as well as their demands, and are ready to lay down their tools in a bid to force the authorities to act.
Speaking in an interview, the President of TUWAG, Nana Kwapong Offei-Boahene, said that his outfit will join the strike by TUTAG once their 7-day deadline elapses.
He added that the failure of persons in charge to respond swiftly to their issues is compelling them to take that action.
“If we, as unions, have passed through all the various labour checks so far as negotiation is concerned, and the officers are not cooperating with us, then there’s nothing more we can do than go on strike. We say that we support the strike very well because the conditions applicable to [TUTAG] are applicable to us as well.”
“We are not on strike because we are waiting for the incubation period of 7 days, which is still not up. We have written and are waiting. If they still don’t call us, we’ll all join the strike so that those officers concerned will sit us down and make sure the migration process is started.”
The Chairman of the Greater Accra branch of TUTAG, Ibrahim Zubairu, claimed last week that the current government is not showing enough commitment towards their concerns because it was the erstwhile Mahama administration that initiated the conversion of polytechnics into technical universities.
“They don’t respect anybody in the technical universities because they didn’t convert polytechnics into technical Universities. You have a government adviser to the ministries on universities telling us that the former government didn’t think through the change from polytechnics into technical universities.”
‘We’ll address concerns’
Meanwhile, the Minister of State-In-Charge of Tertiary Education, Prof. Kwesi Yankah, has promised to address concerns raised by TUTAG.
“It’s part of the transition process; from polytechnics to technical Universities as part of processes involving changes in governance structure and change in statute. Also the capacity building aspect of it as far as change or upgrading the conditions of service which are currently ongoing and has not been completed. They know that it is a policy that the government is pursuing, but it is just that the processes have not been completed yet, so we urge them to be patient with government because it is part of the transition.”
Conversion of polytechnics to technical universities
The conversion of polytechnics into technical universities was one of former President John Mahama’s manifesto promises ahead of the 2012 general elections.
The purpose of the conversion was to bridge the gap between academia and industry.
In 2016, a technical committee on the conversion of polytechnics to technical universities, announced its decision to convert all polytechnics into technical universities, and went ahead to conclude same.