By Adama Tine
The Staff Association of the University of the Gambia on Monday collectively agreed at an extra ordinary congress held at the Faculty of Law to indefinitely stage a sit-down strike until their ongoing problems with the management are resolved.
The problems, according to the Association, include inconsistencies in the salaries paid to individuals less or more than the prescribed scales, holding of double positions in the UTG which is denying potential qualified staff from applying or occupying those positions and unpaid arrears, among others.
Dr. Alieu Gibba, President of the Association said the objective of the decision is to correct wrongs happening at UTG. “Previously we used to have these problems and when they see that the staff are united on their stand, they usually solve the problem just as they did two years ago,” he said.
Gibba said the Association will write to students since they are key stakeholders to inform them that a decision has been taken by the Association so that they would not be coming to school from Thursday until their problems are solved. He described UTG problem as a national problem.
Vice President of the Association and senior lecturer at UTG, Ensa Touray said university is a micro stage with its constitutive organs but once those organs are captured in the UTG policy and are not firmly established within the framework of that policy, the UTG will continue to be paralyzed. He said a university should exist as an autonomous body with all structures established according to what is enshrined in the UTG policy.
Below are some of the listed demands by the Association:
1. MOHERST to pay over 150 million Dalasis UTG arrears in full
2. Interim Governing Council to be dissolved and replaced with a substantive Governing Council. It has been interim for four years or so.
3. The Registrar to completely handover the UTG Human Resource administration back to the Director of HR, who is to report to the DVC administration and/or the Vice Chancellor
4. Replacement of retired Deans or Acting Deans and Heads of Department that are heading positions in the University as UTG conditions of service do not allow them to hold a university office.
5. Holders of double positions at the UTG should relinquish one.
a. Holding of double positions in the UTG is denying potential qualified staff from applying or occupying those positions
6. Election of Deans and Heads of Departments (HODs).
a. Majority of the Deans and HODs are in acting capacities without confirmation. They should either be confirmed or their positions be filled
7. Establishment of Staff Tribunal at the UTG
a. UTG Staff has no independent tribunal to recourse to when their rights are violated. The establishment of the Staff Tribunal will ensure that staff rights are protected and respected.
8. Independent audit of the UTG Salary Scale and grades to ensure fairness in the payments
a. However, there are many inconsistencies in the salaries paid to individuals less or more than the prescribed scales.
9. The position of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Admin & Finance be advertised
10. The advertisement of the Vice-Chancellor to be put on hold until the proper procedures are followed. It has to be advertised for 12 months.