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NLC threatens to drag UTAG to court for contempt

The National Labour Commission (NLC), says it may file a case of contempt against the leadership of the University Teachers Association of Ghana, UTAG if the latter continues to defy a court order asking them to call off their strike and return to work.

The National Labour Commission (NLC), says it may file a case of contempt against the leadership of the University Teachers Association of Ghana, UTAG if the latter continues to defy a court order asking them to call off their strike and return to work.

The Commission on Friday secured an interlocutory injunction from the Labour Court 1 to compel UTAG to call off their strike which started on Monday, August 2.

The directive follows an indication by members of UTAG that they will not return to the lecture halls until the government addresses their concerns relating to their conditions of service.

But the Executive Secretary of the National Labour Commission, Ofosu Asamoah, said the Commission is allowing for some grace period and will be compelled to return to court to cite them for contempt.

“Media reports are indicating that they have decided to defy the court orders and if that is what they are going to do, then we would have to go to court to cite their leaders for contempt… If they don’t comply by the close of day. By tomorrow [Tuesday], we should be in court,” he said.

Mr Ofosu Asamoah said the National Labour Commission will continue its work as an arbiter and try to address the impasse between the university teachers and the government.

It expressed the hope that after a meeting on Wednesday, UTAG members will return to the classroom.

“The NLC will continue to play its role as an independent arbiter, and the Commission will meet them on Wednesday, and I’m sure by then they would have resumed.”

UTAG members have been on strike since the beginning of August because they want the government to restore the conditions of service agreed upon in 2012 which they said was far better than the current situation.

The strike by UTAG has severely affected academic and some non-academic work at the various tertiary campuses.

The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, University of Ghana and other tertiary institutions have already announced a suspension of examinations due to the situation, with no end in sight for the strike.

Concerning the court injunction on their strike, the National President of UTAG, Prof. Charles Marfo in an interview said its National Executive Committee is yet to decide on whether or not to call off the strike based on the development.

“When the NEC meets, and they think that what the government or the courts are demanding we have to go by them, we will… It is unfortunate that when we have not been heard, we will be dragged to court. It seems like people are using power unnecessarily because they have it, so they can use it to force us to go into the classroom… If you force us to the classroom,  can you force us to teach?” he quizzed.

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