It is unbelievable and laughable, that, UTAG UEW (Winneba & Ajumaku), will circulate a notice to the effect that, “at an emergency meeting held on the 24th of July, 2017, there was a consensus to continue with the strike action until further notice”.
At the said meeting, if nobody at all asked for putting the strike declaration to a vote, I specifically asked that we put the question of the strike to a vote, and no attention was paid to this. I know I wasn’t the only person who took this stand, but I can stick my neck out on this without any qualms. A colleague even went further to openly declare that, he was not on strike. On strike for what?
This is certainly the joke of the century! That a court should lift an injunction sort against a trade union member, because a trade union (UTAG UEW), has declared a strike action to register its displeasure of the court order? No court will take such vain threats into account and vary its decision!
At the previous meeting of UTAG UEW, held on the 20th of July 2017, a member spoke about a Judge using Common Law to decide a case. Common Law doesn’t just mean a Judge using common sense/moral basis to arrive at a decision. I will not waste time to educate such people in this write-up. However, any UEW Business (BBA) student, whom I have taught, can clearly educate such people on what is Common Law, and go further to make a distinction between the Common Law and Equity.
At a subsequent meeting of UTAG UEW held on the 24th of July 2017, another statement was made to the effect that, in Human Rights, a strike action can compel a court to vary its decision. Am no Human Rights expert, but from a legal point of view, no strike action, anywhere in the world, can force a court of competent jurisdiction, to change its ruling to satisfy a striking union/workers demands.
If a court should vary its decision, because of a strike action by a trade union, then it sets a precedent that, any unionised worker, when faced with a court order, can get away for free if the trade union of which he is a member, declares a strike in solidarity with him. I have supported strike actions in the past, and may do so in the future, but definitely not the current strike declared by UTAG UEW, which to some extent, maybe deemed to be contempt of court.
Was it the government that asked the VC and the FO of UEW to step aside? A court ordered them to step aside, so why give the government 2 weeks to resolve the issue? The ultimatum, should rather be directed at the court, if UTAG UEW care to know. The claimant, Mr. Supi Kwayera, is neither the Minister of Education, nor the President of Ghana. Is it because his counsel happens to be a sitting Member of Parliament (MP) of the ruling party?
Let me digress a little here. The MP for Effutu, Hon. Afenyo Markin, is on record to have spoken about the issues (defunct governing council, etc) currently before the Winneba High Court, as far back as 2013. So, if someone decides to test these facts in court, who will be the best person to consult? This is akin to an advert placed by Hon. Afenyo Markin, and Mr. Supi Kwayera, responded to the advert, by patronising the product/service.
UEW didn’t just fall from the sky. It is a creature of law (Act 672), and so if issues arise in UEW administration, it is the same law, and other relevant laws in force, that will be used to put the issues to rest. This procedure, cannot certainly be described as an attack on academic freedom. Academic freedom itself, is a creature of law.
In this regard, UTAG UEW, can go to court and get a mandatory injunction, to compel Kumasi and Ajumaku campuses to join the strike.
In a similar vein, UTAG UEW can apply for a court order to compel the concerned lecturers at UEW Winneba campus, of which am part, to join the strike action.
In the latest email, sent on the 25th of July 2017, UTAG UEW urged its members not to participate in the congregation slated for the 27-29 of July 2017, and made mockery of UTAG UEW Kumasi/Ajumaku campuses, that they constitute only 20% of UTAG UEW membership. This is nothing short of outright disrespect to the UTAG UEW Kumasi/Ajumaku campuses.
Apart from a court restraining order, I and the concerned lecturers of UEW, will attend the congregation slated for the 27-29 of July 2017, even if UTAG UEW goes ahead to deploy armed security personnel.
The concerned lecturers will only respect the decisions of the courts of Ghana, and not Rambo/Delta Force type of actions.
When the Supreme Court declared the entrance exams, organised by the Ghana School of Law (GSL), as unconstitutional, the applicants did not boycott the exams, but rather unsuccessfully went back to court to stop the GSL from organising this year’s entrance exams. And these are mostly students who just graduated from the universities, and we are talking about lecturers in the case of UTAG UEW.
To some of my elderly colleagues who are having problems reading some of my writings, there is no law compelling you to read my writings. And if anyone feels ‘defamed’, in any of my articles, there is something called a defamation suit. Someone at UEW Finance Office, can give you a lecture on this.
I choose to attend school and choose to be where I am today. I needed the right guidance at my infancy, but definitely, not today, so the advice to some of us, as to what to publish, is misdirected. My certificates are not limited to working only at UEW, so the threat of someone not promoting or appointing me in the future at UEW, most certainly, is an empty threat.
As a parting shot, the everyday saying of some people that they have been at UEW for 17 years or so, should be sung to those who can’t think far. It is not the question of how long one has been in a job or occupation, but what contribution the individual has made to the advancement or progress in the industry. For example, Nelson Mandela was in power as President of South Africa, for 5 years. Meanwhile, Mobutu Sese Seko was in power as President of the former Zaire, now Democratic Republic of the Congo, for over 30 years. Now tell me, which of these 2 late Presidents, made a significant contribution to good governance in Africa in particular and the world at large?
Alhassan Salifu Bawah
(son of a peasant farmer)