University labour unions raise red flag over conditions of service

University unions raise the red flag over working conditions

Prof. Solomon Nunoo, President of UTAG, flanked by Dr. Akyene Tetteh (left), Treasurer, and Dr. Asante-Annor, secretary

Four public university unions have called on the government to immediately reverse its intention to change their terms of service.

Otherwise, they would result in the withdrawal of their services (teaching and related activities) effective Wednesday, October 5, 2022.

The four unions are the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG), the Ghana Association of University Administrators (GAUA), the Tertiary Education Workers Union of Ghana (TEWU-GH) and the Senior Staff Association of Universities of Ghana (SSA-UoG) . .


Speaking on behalf of the unions, UTAG President Prof Solomon Nunoo, speaking at a press conference in Accra today (September 28, 2022), said their working conditions had been unduly varied on their blind side with the intention of selective application of the unions’ equal terms, without that they know the employer.

“The unions took note of a letter dated August 5, 2022 from the Treasury Department revising the fuel allowance for eligible staff in public and technical universities, signed by Deputy Treasury Secretary Abena Osei-Asare.

He also referred to another letter from the Ministry of Finance dated March 16, 2022 on Allowances Payable on the Payroll of Public Universities, again signed by Ms Ose-Asare and addressed to the Director General of the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC).

Prof Nunoo said UTAG also wrote two letters dated April 11, 2022 and June 15, 2022 to the Minister of Finance and the Executive Secretary of the National Labor Commission (NLC) and copied them to the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC) for “clarification”. request on the basis of the unilateral change in the terms of service of university teachers and thus of all employees of public universities without the specified negotiation procedures”


“Unfortunately, UTAG has not received a response from the Treasury Secretary and a re-response in relation to NLC’s policy where the NLC has given the Treasury Secretary seven working days to respond has been unsuccessful.

“In previous letters from UTAG, UTAG has clearly stated that pursuant to the signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoA) between the Employer and UTAG dated June 16, 2021, the Employer has agreed to review the Fuel Allowance semi-annually at the approved rates and with the first date in December 2021 occurred, but did not occur despite warnings to the employer,” he explained.

Contrary to the MoA referred to, Prof. Nunoo said the Minister of Finance, in his own letter dated 16 March 2022, reference number BD/CMU/22/03/SAL.1, again ordered that the fuel surcharge and other allowances do depended on the price of gasoline, hitherto tied to the number of gallons, was now converted and fixed in absolute terms, without recourse to any of the public university unions.

“Therefore we have completely rejected this absolute sentence as the procedure for making such a decision has not been followed and the status quo should be maintained until agreed upon in negotiations. Again, the employer ignored the unions’ concerns, adding that “after a long delay in relation to the semi-annual review, the finance minister, in a letter dated 5 August 2022, gave approval for the adjustment of the ex-pump fuel price and consequently the unit cost.” , which will be set at 10.99 GH¢ per liter effective July 1, 2022 for all eligible employees more than a year after signing the MoA.


The UTAG president said one would have thought that if the employer finally honored the agreement, there would have been some sanity on the labor front, “but we know that henceforth there will be inequalities in the implementation of this adjusted ex-pump rate, which contradicts existing practice, particularly for vehicle maintenance and off-campus allowances.

“The difference is that it will only apply to duty bearers from our universities. Not only is this action unacceptable, but it creates a class system, like George Owel’s famous Animal Farm and discounting that the other employees and the duty bearer both go to the same marketplace.

“We would like to note that vehicle maintenance and off-campus allowances payable to eligible staff at public universities in Ghana will be paid at a base rate of GH¢ 4.99 per liter until June 2021, when this was reduced to 6, 05 GH¢ per liter has been adjusted to liter. So what has changed for this blatant disregard for agreed established procedures,” he said.

According to him, the intended upward reversal of the recent adjustments from 10.99 GH¢ to 6.05 GH¢ simply did not reflect the economic conditions at the pump and was therefore unthinkable for the employer to even think of such an idea.

UTAG and its sister unions. He said he would like to ask the employer to act carefully so as not to damage the already vulnerable tertiary education front, as the unions would not tolerate such fragrant disregard for agreed terms of service modalities.


Following the suspension of the UTAG strike action in March 2022, the UTAG National Executive Committee pledged to oversee and monitor the full implementation of all agreements with the employer and to work with clear timetables and roadmaps to ensure all promises and agreements are honored. However, he said it is sad to note that there are still challenges in implementing the online teaching support allowance and unpaid allowances are pending.

“This situation has left the university teacher worse off given the current precarious economic situation we find ourselves in, and yet the employer is keen to wipe out the small profits made.

He reiterated that unions had observed that the implementation of the GTEC document on harmonized allowances had made several university administrators and professionals worse off, in breach of labor laws and that “this requires urgent remedial action”.

“Finally, the Book and Research Grant (BRA) payment has been delayed for this year. This continued delay is also causing unnecessary concern across campuses. The employer should keep in mind that we are in a new academic year, so the continuous delay in payment is unacceptable. According to the agreement that led to the suspension of the UTAG industrial action, the 2021/2022 BRA were to be paid at the end of August 2022. Unfortunately they have not been paid to this day. The constant follow-ups have produced only evasive excuses and typify the reactionary and less-proactive leadership style that all relevant departments and their heads, including Finance, National Security, Education and Employment, and the National Labor Commission, are watching and waiting for us to explode before they act,” he lamented.