The Institute Of Progressive Democrats (IPD) is calling on government to sack?all striking POTAG teachers. According to IPD it is?appalled by the continuous strike action being embarked upon by members of the Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG).
They said, their decision to comment on this unfortunate situation is without prejudice to the legal action being taken by the National Labour Commisssion against members of POTAG, and as such, they are not interested in the legality or otherwise of their strike action. We intend to focus on the basis for their declared strike action and to expose the greed, politics, and utter laziness motivating their action.
In a press statement?to press home its demand, the Institute noted that some few weeks ago, the leadership of POTAG declared a strike action to the chagrin of parents and students., The NLC subsequently described the strike action as illegal and directed them to go back to their lecture halls which they have refused, denied and or ignored to do.
“The sole reason given by POTAG is Government’s inability to pay them the 2013/2014 Book and Research allowance. The Book and Research allowance as it stands currently is monies paid monthly to lecturers by virtue of being a member of POTAG irrespective of whether or not the member engages in any research. One just get paid at the end of the month. This is supposed to be an incentive package as well as enhance academic work which government embraces anyway .”
“Now, one may ask, is the Book and Research allowance a salient term of the contract such that its non-observance could lead to a suspension of the contract temporarily or otherwise between POTAG and its employer? The Book and Research allowance properly so construed is only an incentive package. Even though it does not go into the root of the contract, it motivates the employees and sharpens their ability to perform. So therefore, being an incentive, the withdrawal or suspension of such incentive which does not form any term of the contract cannot be the basis for any unilateral suspension of the contract between the two parties.”
According to IPD, the basic consideration for any employment contract is the salary to be paid and the promise to work for such salary. And any action(s) that leads to the temporal withdrawal of services amount to an abrogation of such a contract, adding that “It is pitiful and pathetic that POTAG is not on strike because of delay or non-payment of salaries which is the basis of their contract with government. But rather looking for excuses to idle around and get paid at the end of the month through the sweat and toils of the poor innocent Ghanaian.”
Fortunately, it said, Government is not abolishing the Book and Research allowance but rather transforming it into a more efficient and performance based research fund.
“Unlike the current syste of universal pay structure of the said allowance where employees get paid monthly whether or not they embark on any research. The new research fund is still available to anyone who engages in ?true research?. One may only have to apply and or submit a proposal? and the monies granted. This will give added impetus to those who have research papers lying on their desks because of the lack of funds for this project.”
“If the Book and Research allowance is not being cancelled, why is POTAG on strike? The answer is simple. The research fund is more performance based and will weed out the lazy ones who always and only falls on their old lecture notes and teaching methods. The leadership of POTAG and others who will be interested in the fund should rather partner government, industry and other international organizations to enrich source of funding the new research fund rather than being motivated by greed.”
IPD called on government to?be bold enough to accept POTAG?S unilateral abrogation of their contract, declare all positions vacant and call for fresh application from any eligible Ghanaian and that if POTAG members on the other hand believe the conditions of service are not favorable, they can honorably leave the field for equally competent Ghanaians who are able and willing to take their position under the same conditions.
“We wish to remind government that other public sector workers are closely monitoring its handling of this ?POTAG debacle? and are sizing up their own confrontation. Government should therefore begin to act in the best interest of the country by cracking the whip. It should no longer tolerate this joke of a black mail.”