The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II is appealing to labour unions to measure their expectations of the Akufo-Addo-led administration due to the negative impact of COVID-19 on the world economy, worsened by the Russia-Ukraine war.
Labour unions especially university teachers declared a strike, early this year, to pile pressure on the government, to demand better conditions of service.
In the case of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG), the nearly 30-day-old strike took academic work off gear, forcing managers of these state-run universities to contemplate a shutdown. The strike was however suspended, following talks between the government and leadership of the UTAG.
The Asantehene who was speaking at a special congregation ceremony at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, KNUST, however, observed that teachers’ strike affects the country’s educational system, with students at the receiving end. While urging the government to resort to dialogue to reduce the trend, he advised the unions to minimize their expectations during negotiations.
“I urge the government to continue to ensure that equity is manifestly done and the citizenry [is] fully assured and satisfied. In the same breadth, I call on UTAG and for that matter all other unions on campus and for that matter civil society, at large, to be measured in their expectations, particularly at this time that the global economy is battling the deleterious effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian-Ukraine war.
“I am not a student of Economics but I know that resources are always limited, and therefore we cannot have what we want all the time. I hope and pray that dialogue, goodwill, and trust which are essential ingredients in resolving conflicts would be applied effectively in all future negotiations between labour unions and government to avoid such prolonged strikes”, Otumfuo said.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has already created a dent in the academic calendar and we do not want to see labour unrests deepening this dent”, he added.