Home » Ghana’s University Staff Down Tools Over Unpaid Pensions and Allowances

Ghana’s University Staff Down Tools Over Unpaid Pensions and Allowances

The association says the government has failed to honour its obligations to them, despite several negotiations and agreements.

by Motoni Olodun

The Senior Staff Association of Universities of Ghana (SSA-UoG) has announced an indefinite strike action, effective from Monday, January 22, 2024, over the government’s failure to address their grievances on pensions and conditions of service.

The SSA-UoG, which comprises administrators, accountants, librarians, technicians, and other non-academic staff of public universities, said the decision was taken after exhausting all avenues to get the government to honor its obligations to them.

According to a press statement released on Sunday, January 21, 2024, the association said the 17th National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held on November 25, 2023, revealed substantial evidence pointing to the government’s failure to release Tier-2 Pension contributions to the Board of Trustees for proper investment management, as mandated by the Pension Act.

The statement also highlighted the illegal cancellation of the overtime allowance, a direct violation of the agreed conditions of service signed between the senior staff and the government.

The association emphasized that the strike is an unfortunate but unavoidable decision made in the face of the government’s continuous disregard for the well-being of universities’ senior staff.

The strike action means that all services rendered by the senior staff, such as admission, registration, examination, library, ICT, finance, and administration, will be suspended until further notice.

The senior staff called on the government to urgently release the outstanding funds and restore the overtime allowance, as stipulated in the labor laws and agreements previously established.

The strike action by the SSA-UoG adds to the woes of the public university system, which has been plagued by frequent industrial actions by various unions in recent years.

In 2023, the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) also embarked on a nationwide strike over similar issues of pensions and conditions of service, which lasted for several weeks and disrupted the academic calendar.

The government has been accused of reneging on its promises and failing to implement the recommendations of various committees set up to resolve the impasse.

The Ministry of Education has not yet issued any official response to the latest strike action by the SSA-UoG, but sources say that negotiations are ongoing behind the scenes to avert a prolonged crisis.

The strike action by the SSA-UoG also comes at a time when Ghana is facing a severe economic downturn, worsened by the effects of the global pandemic and the rising cost of living.

The government has been struggling to balance its fiscal deficit and meet its debt obligations, while also providing social interventions and stimulus packages to cushion the impact of the crisis on the vulnerable segments of the population.

The public sector workers, including the university staff, have been demanding a review of their salaries and allowances to reflect the current economic realities and inflation rates.

However, the government has maintained that it does not have the fiscal space to accommodate such demands, and has appealed for patience and understanding from the workers.

The SSA-UoG has vowed to continue with the strike action until their demands are met and has urged its members to remain resolute and united in their quest for justice and fairness.

The association has also expressed its solidarity with the students and the general public, who are likely to bear the brunt of the strike action and has appealed for their support and sympathy.

The association said it hopes that the government will act swiftly and decisively to address the issues and restore normalcy to the public university system, which is vital for the development and transformation of the nation.

Source: Pulse Ghana

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