The leadership of Security Guards at Koforidua Technical University (KTU) in the Eastern Region is demanding an upward adjustment of their salaries from the University’s management.
The request comes after the security guards have been compelled to work an additional four duty hours daily since March 2020, without any corresponding increase in their remuneration.
Investigations carried out by the Daily Statesman during a visit to the university have revealed that the security guards have been grappling with the extra workload for over a year.
Despite repeated pleas to management to rectify the situation and improve their working conditions, no concrete action has been taken.
In a petition sent by the guards to the Vice-Chancellor of KTU, dated January 14, 2021, to resolve the dispute over the extra four duty hours, the Security Guards expressed concern regarding the 12-hour duty schedule which came into effect in March 2020.
“It would be recalled that the department earlier operated 8-hour shift schedule with a Commuted Overtime Allowance of 20 percent of basic salary. When the Department reverted to the 12-hour duty schedule, a corresponding increase of the Commuted Overtime Allowance was expected by the Security Guards in view of the extra 4-hour duty hours assigned”, portions of the petition read.
“We are deeply concerned about this matter and, therefore, wish to respectfully plead with Management through your high office to make a little, upward adjustment to the current rate of the Commuted Overtime Allowance in order to boost our morale to work even harder and deliver better security services to the School,” the petition added.
However, a response by way of a memo written from the KTU Office of the Registrar, Dr. N.A. Mensah-Livingstone, said Management, at its meeting held on Tuesday, February 2, 2021, considered their memo but was unable to grant their upward request.
The University insisted that the security guards did not have the authority to vary the contents of the Categories 2 & 3 Allowances which mandates security, watchmen, cooks and house helps to work for 12 hours a day and be paid 20% of their salaries on monthly basis.
Additionally, KTU noted that it is a government directive which cannot be varied by the University, urging the security guards to understand the matter.
Several security guards who spoke to the Daily Statesman expressed their frustration, alleging that the directive to work for an extended period is not mandated by the government, contrary to what university management had claimed. According to the guards, they conducted their own checks and could find no such official government directive instructing public workers to work for 12 hours.
They intimated the lack of clarity and transparency surrounding the decision to extend the working hours had left them feeling undervalued and unappreciated. They lamented that their physical and mental well-being is at risk due to the prolonged working hours they have to endure, without adequate compensation.
The leadership told the Daily Statesman in an interview that they had sent a petition dated January 14, 2021 to the management of the university to resolve the issue of extra four duty hours but no positive response had been given.
Responding to the claims raised by the security guards, the Deputy Head of Security at KTU, Joseph Edem Degboe, disclosed that the 12- hours duty schedule operated by the school is a government directive concluded and signed in an agreement with organized labour on August 26, 2019 concerning the implementation of the revised Category 2&3 Allowances for implementation in all government institutions including KTU.
Mr Degboe added that as a public institution, the government of Ghana is responsible for the payment of wages and salaries and other compensations to staff members of KTU.
Meanwhile, the leadership of the security guards still insist that management of the university has an option to use either the Internally Generated Funds (IGF) to pay for the extra overtime of 4 hours and further fast track clearance from the government to recruit more security staff to enable the university revert back to the 8-hours shift system.