UTG staff announce mid Sept. sit-down strike

Sep 14, 2021, 12:36 PM | Article By: Adama Tine

The University of The Gambia (UTG) during a congress that brought together over one hundred staff from various departments of the UTG to discuss pertinent issues affecting the institution announced that they would go on a sit-down-strike from September 15 if government fails to respond to their demands.

The demands by the staff include: Re-composition of the governing Council of the University of The Gambia; the review and enactment of the University of The Gambia’s bills; for the University to do away with acting Vice-Chancellor; for the Registrar of the University to relinquish his current position with immediate effect as his fixed-term has expired; for the Ministry of Higher Education to lift all bans, including travelling bans currently imposed on UTG and its management; and for the implementation of all other pending resolutions agreed with the Ministry, Office of The President and the UTG Management.

The Vice President of the staff association, Dr. Ensa Touray explained that institutional reform was central for the current Government in different sectors including the University of The Gambia. He said institutions were supposed to embark on reforms to ensure institutions become better than they were in the past.

“Our primary demand is, if the new council is not reconstituted with new members, we will not negotiate with them. We are not going to engage in any negotiation again until all the demands and resolutions are fully implemented,” he declared.

“All the ministries and institutions have embarked on that necessary steps and made efforts on that except the Ministry of Higher Education,” he said.

“The minister recycled the same people in the governing council for a purpose and that purpose is to ensure that creation of condition that will respond to the needs of a group or individual but not to the needs of the entire university,” he stressed.

According to Dr. Touray, having a substantive council is very important, without which the members would do things to please the one who appointed them. The congress resolved that the Governing Council of the University should be reconstituted as agreed in their signed agreement.

“We came to an arrangement and signed an agreement which brought the strike to an end. He said the mediation team from the Government included the Secretary General and Head of Civil Service, two permanent secretaries and some other government officials. Also, the team from the National Assembly was headed by Hon. Sidia Jatta from the Select Committee on Education,” he explained.

“We agreed on terms in terms of implementation of the resolutions (demands). One of the resolutions was to dismantle or dissolve the council and reconstitute another one with new members and chairman,” he said.

“The Higher Education minister failed to attend the meeting with the mediation team on condition that was known to them. The lecturer said the minister put aside the agreement and went on to “recycle” the same members into the Council.

“The minister recycled the same members in order for him to continue to manipulate the council in order to get access to the university resources,” Touray claimed.

However, Touray added that the structure that the minister created is weak and is not helping the university. He said the minister’s interest is to put in people on the Governing Council that he can manipulate and get access to the university funds. He said the President’s lack of understanding of the structural setup of the university made it very easy for the minister to manipulate everything and present the council to him.

“The minister imposed traveling ban on the UTG authority which is not driven by the institutional standards and as a result, we want MOHERST to lift the traveling ban on the university management,” Dr. Touray buttressed