University Administrators On Strike

ACADEMIC ACTIVITIES at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has suffered a setback following the declaration of a strike action by members of the Ghana Association of University Administrators (GAUA). Similar strike actions have been recorded in other public universities and there are fears that salaries for university staff may delayed this month following the strike. The association, which comprises administrators and professionals of the country�s public universities, has embarked on an industrial action in protest against discrepancies in their migration onto the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS). Initiated by the previous New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration, the new pay policy is aimed at fine-tuning anomalies in the country�s pay structure in the public service institutions. The implementation of the new pay policy by the President Mills-led administration has been fraught with difficulties which have caused series of agitations on the labour front by people who are not enthused about their placement on the new salary scheme. The KNUST branch of GAUA has withdrawn its administration, Information Communication Technology (ICT) and hospital services till the anomalies in their migration onto the SSSS are resolved. The senior members of the university�s working class are not happy about the refusal of the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) to grant their market premium proposal. As part of measures to ensure that certain classes of professionals are kept in various government institutions, the new pay policy introduced the market premium to give allowance to identifiable professionals as a means of keeping them in their jobs. Recognizing their immense contribution in the running of public universities in the country, members of GAUA made a proposal of 160 percent of their basic salaries as their market premium in their negotiation for their migration onto the SSSS. But to their utter shock, the FWSC, during a meeting with them, announced that they were not entitled to any market premium though they also belonged to a professional class. Annoyed by the FWSC�s position, the members wrote a letter to the commission, asking it to review its stance but to no avail, hence the association�s decision to go on strike till its demand was met. The President of the KNUST chapter of the association, Solomon Panford, told DAILY GUIDE that his outfit was overwhelmed by the commission�s refusal to grant them the market premium when their colleagues in the teaching class were entitled to it. He stated that they would only resume work when they received news that the commission was ready to confer with them for an agreement to be reached with regard to their market premium. Mr. Panford did not fathom why the commission would grant their colleagues in the teaching class the opportunity to enjoy the market premium, but deny them, when they belonged to the same senior members� class of the university. He threatened that his members would withdraw all their services if the commission failed to meet their demands in the shortest possible time, declaring that they would not succumb to any form of intimidation from any quarters. As per the working class of the public universities in the country, there are four different working classes comprising the senior members, senior staff, junior staff and junior members. The senior members� class comprises lecturers, registrants, administrators, IT professionals, doctors and administrators at the university hospitals, whereas the senior staff are the middle level workers of the university. The junior staff and the junior members are the next level of workers ranging from drivers to security personnel.