Strike by POTAG chapters illegal

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The National Labour Commission (NLC) says a sit-down strike by the Takoradi, Sunyani and Kumasi chapters of the Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG) is illegal.

The NLC is asking all members of POTAG involved in the strike to return to post immediately or risk forfeiting their remuneration for the period they stay at home.

Teachers of the three polytechnics began an indefinite sit-down strike on Thursday to protest what they described as unfair treatment in their migration onto the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS).

According to POTAG, a meeting  last Tuesday among POTAG, the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning ended in a stalemate.

But a statement issued and signed in Accra by the Public Affairs Officer of the NLC, Ms Charlotte Hanson, said POTAG failed to follow the legally binding process for redress in the Labour Act.

Section 160 of the Labour Law states that “a party to an industrial dispute who has given notice of  intention to resort to a strike or lockout may do so only after the expiration of seven days from the date of notice and not at any time before the expiration of that period”.

The statement said a notice to embark on a strike action got to the commission on Thursday, February 23, 2012 when some POTAG members had already begun their strike.

According to the statement, the refusal of POTAG to adhere to the process of the law renders their strike illegal.Quoting section 168 (2) of the same law which states that “workers who embark on illegal strike may be liable for any damage, loss or injury suffered by any other person as a result of the illegal strike or lockout”, the statement said the commission would be forced to apply section 168 (4) of the law to deny the striking teachers of their remuneration.
Section 168 (4) of the Labour Law says “a worker who takes part in an illegal strike may have his or her services terminated by the employer without notice for breach of contract of his or her contract of employment or may have his or her remuneration forfeited in respect of the period during which they are engaged in the illegal strike”.

Source: graphic.com.gh

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