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Labour unrest: Court slaps UTAG with GHc3000 cost over court rules

The Labour Court in Accra presided over by Justice Frank Rockson Aboadwe has awarded a cost of GHc3000 against the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG).

This was after lawyers of UTAG failed to comply with Section 20(14) of the rules that governs their application before the court. The UTAG has since August 2 been on strike and efforts made by NLC to have them called off their strike have proven futile including a court interlocutory injunction. In court on Monday, August 16, lawyer for UTAG Keli Delataa while on his feet to move the application for the court to set aside its earlier order as per an exparte application, counsel for the National Labour Commission (NLC) objected to the move.

It was the case of NLC that, the exhibit counsel for UTAG was relying on to move his application has not been certified as per order 20 (14). According to the NLC, that section is instructive in nature and therefore the application was not properly before the court.

He prayed the court not to allow UTAG, the applicant to move the application.

Counsel for UTAG, in his response to the objection, said every document they have attached to their processes has been stumped by the registrar of oath.

Justice Aboadwe after listening to them said it was minded not to strike out the case but gives UTAG an opportunity to come properly. The court said, the provision in the said section was mandatory and ought to be fulfilled.

To this end, the lawyer of NLC asked the court to slap a GHc10,000 cost against UTAG on grounds that, the case is of public interest.

Lawyer of UTAG though agreed that, NLC deserves some cost, offered to give GHc500. Justice Aboadwe subsequently awarded a cost of GHc3,000 in favour of the NLC.

EIB Network’s Court Correspondent Murtala Inusah reports that, the case has been adjourned to August 19 for UTAG to come back and move their application.

Try Settlement

The court prior to adjourning the matter beseeched the parties to settle the matter at hand.

According to the Court, this is a matter that could be settled by both parties and urged them to do so if possible before the next court sitting.

The parties indicated to the court they are committed to that effect.

Meanwhile, an application for contempt against the leadership of UTAG has been served on them and that case is expected tomorrow.

The Commission on Friday August 6 secured an interlocutory injunction from the court to compel UTAG to call off their strike which started on Monday August 2, 2021.

UTAG has however refused to comply with order, indicating that the premise is false.

While the NLC said that UTAG cannot remain on strike while negotiations with government is ongoing, UTAG insists that there is currently no active negotiation between them and the government.

UTAG subsequently filed a motion to set aside the injunction.

The 2012 Single Spine package put entry-level lecturers on a salary of $2,084 while the current level puts lecturers’ salaries around $900.

The strike by UTAG has severely affected academic and some non-academic work at the various tertiary campuses.

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