We Will Fulfill Our Part – Government Assures POTAG

Government has reiterated its commitment to honour its part of the agreement between her and the Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG). Government and POTAG in an emergency meeting on Monday, 25th August, 2014 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to bring an end to the prolonged strike of the latter. According to the MoU which was signed by James Dugrah, POTAG President; Prof Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang, Minister for Education; George Smith-Graham, Chief Executive Fair Wages & Salaries Commission, Prof Mahama Duweijua, Executive Secretary National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) and Hon. Haruna Idrisu, Minister for Employment and Labour Relations: - Government reaffirmed its resolve to pay the Book and Research Allowance under the existing arrangement for the 2013/2014 academic year. - the parties resolved to ensure that payment of the 2013/2014 Book and Research Allowance commences with immediate effect and to be completed by the end of 2014 fiscal year - the parties agreed that the exchange rate to be used for the Book and Research Allowance shall be computed using the average Bank of Ghana exchange rate for the 2013 and 2014 - it was observed that NCTE has already started the process leading to the payment of the Book and Research Allowance - that POTAG is expected by this agreement to call off its nationwide strike immediately and to restore normalcy on all Polytechnic campuses. - the parties requested that the FWSC engages POTAG and UTAG on the Book and Research Allowance in line with the Single Spine Pay Policy, taking note of Government's policy to establish a National Research Fund After the meeting, POTAG suspended its strike and urged government to fulfill its part of the bargain. Samuel Okudjeto Ablakwa, Deputy Minister in charge of Tertiary Education in an interview on Wednesday's edition of 'Kokrokoo' Morning Show on PEACE FM indicated that government is committed to fulfilling its part of the deal since POTAG has called off their strike. Government has also directed the FWSC to open negotiations as far as the National Research Fund and the Book and Research Allowance are concerned with POTAG. “A letter has already been forwarded to the Finance Ministry. We have also instructed Fair wages commission to reopen negotiations latest by next week on the conditions of services of the polytechnic teachers. We have put in a lot of measures to ensure that this (strike) does not repeat itself” he mentioned. Answering to whether the National Research Fund has been cancelled, he said even though the money meant for the Fund will now be used to pay the Polytechnic teachers, it has not been cancelled. “Government has directed the Fair Wages and Salary Commission (FWSC) to deal with that issue...The National Research fund remains government policy; it has not been thrown out; the agreement was that discussions will re-open," he intimated.