Accra, July 31, GNA - The National Labour Commission (NLC) has blamed the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) meeting with the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) as an action which might have provoked the strike action.
The NLC issued the blame after deliberations at its July 30 meeting with UTAG, the MOE, the National Council for Tertiary Education and the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission.
According to a statement on Thursday which was signed by Dr Bernice A. Welbeck, Acting Executive Secretary of the National Labour Commission, the action by the MOE was wrong and constituted interference in the procedure when the matter had been referred for voluntary arbitration.
The statement said the NLC also blamed both parties for contributing to the dilemma they find themselves in and that having appeared before the Commission the parties had agreed to continue with the Voluntary Arbitration process in accordance with the Labour Act 2003 (Act 651).
It also stated that with the on-going arbitration process the status quo ante remained and that no party should resort to the media while the dispute was under Voluntary Arbitration.
The NLC on June 17 referred the dispute over the payment of Book and Research Allowance to Voluntary Arbitration with the consent of the MOE and UTAG who are the parties involved.
It said the Voluntary Arbitration process was triggered by the Commission on July 3, 2014 pursuant to Regulations18-25 of the NLC’s Regulations 2006, Legislative Instrument 1822.
However on July 24, 2014, UTAG declared an indefinite strike over the matter which had been referred to Voluntary Arbitration in contravention of Section 161 (1) of the Labour Act 2003, (Act 651) which states that “A party to an industrial dispute shall not resort to strike or lock-out during the period when negotiation, mediation or arbitration proceedings are in progress”.