Anchoring Democracy Advocacy Movement Ghana (ADAM-GH) is a civil society organization that anchors proper democratic principles, ensures good governance, promote the rule of law and fundamental human rights.
As Civil society organization, we were shocked and highly disappointed when the TUC and labour unions exhibited yet another mediocre presence in the overflogged issues surrounding the salaries and emoluments of the First and Second ladies of the republic of Ghana which has dominated discussions in our media and public space from last week and has been widely condemned by many well meaning Ghanaians.
Reading TUCs press release joining Ghanaians to condemn the first and second ladies’ salary saga instead of concentrating on the welfare of Ghanaian public sector workers who have not received any significant salary increment since 2017 when this government took over is disheartening. It is becoming undoubtedly clear that the TUC and all it is affiliate unions who Ghanaian workers pay dues to inorder to always fight for workers welfare has unabatedlly lost their relevance in that regard. A major stakeholder like TUC who controls the country’s labour space for nearly 70% of the Ghanaian workforce, all they could do was to urge the President to ensure a refund of the monies paid to their wives instead of issuing ultimatum to the government, citing withdrawal of the services of their members if government fails to heed their call. A move that will inspire confidence in the Ghanaian public sector worker on the principles of ” What is the good for the goose is good for the gander” or better still consistency.
The mission of TUC is to improve working and living conditions through collective action, solidarity andn social partnership based on the principle of fairness and justice. Therefore meddling in the first ladies saga vociferously thereby losing your voice on the callous treatment being meted out to the very workers of Ghana whose interest you have sworn to jealously protect smacks of hypocrisy and the abuse of their economic Justice.
Every public sector worker is entitled to annual salary increase base pay but this has not been the case when Nana Addo’s government took over in 2017. The public sector annual salary increase by the end of 2016 was 12% of the salary of each public sector worker, an intervention that was vehemently opposed by the TUC and it’s allies as being contrary to the 15% base pay as contained in their collective bargaining agreement.
Fast forward 2021 and after months of negotiation on the 2021/2022 base pay it was concluded that after organized Labour had proposed 15% for both years and subsequently coming down to 10% for 2021/2022, Government insisted on its earlier proposal of 4%/6%for 2021/2022. However, as organized Labour kept on with it’s proposed figures of 10% for both years, Government side tabled 4%and 7%for 2021/2022 respectively with the condition that then there will be retrenchment in the public sector if organised labour maintains their demands.
Organized Labour after some deliberations on the issue raised by Government side, accepted their proposal of 4%/7%for2021/2022 respectively with the following conditions:
1.That the agreement takes effect from 1st Jan.2021with the payment of arrears spread as follows.
1 month arrears payment added on to August, September, October, November and 2months arrears on December 2021 making the 6months arrears.
2.That there will be no retrenchment during the period.
3.That Government should continue to recruit in the public sector.
4.That Government ensure that vaccines are made available for public sector workers.
5. That Government ensure full payment of Tier2 pension.
Interestingly never in the history of Ghana has negotiation for salary increase been done for two years at a sitting. For instance negotiating 2021 and 2022 at the same. The question is with the proposed salary increase ranges around 4% to 7%, does it mean that in 2022 when the economy shows positive indicators, the government can only pay between 4%-7%? This certainly flies in the face of any economic logic. 2020 /2021 negotiations should be made the to take care of itself so subsequent negotiations be underpinned by prevailing economic circumstances and since the government has made projections for positive gains in the future considering its sound economic policies, there should be nothing to be afraid of.
As a responsible and a sensitive union, they should have been telling us their challenges with government on getting a favourable percentage increase in the base pay of the Ghanaian worker and court our support if possible because almost 70% of Ghanaian depends largely on the largest public sector workers and so when their condition is incapacitated, it affects not only their dependants but other critical sectors of the economy, particularly the services sector since the purchasing powers of the ordinary Ghanaian worker is weakened.
Increased rent, increase in fuel and LPG prices, increased Transportation fares, roof hitting prices of food and other commodities on our market and so on with a relative stagnation in the salaries of our gallant workers.
What is more worrying is the fact that even the abysmal and the killer 4% to 7% downward reveiwed base pay has not been paid to our workers in the past six months and have most of these workers from across the public sector divide, particularly teachers and other health service staff have remained in arrears for almost 4 years and yet TUC the mother body have lost their voices on these critical issues for which they were voted into office to manage workers welfare. The very Ntiamoah committee’s work that suggested increase in the salaries of our Article 71 holders, with specific emphasis on that of our Members of Parliament which is the lowest in the ranking though but their “Monthly Gross” salary of Twenty Eight Thousand (Ghc28,000+) is far in excess of the Annual Gross salary of a Principal Supritendent in the Ghana Education Service which is one of the highest and most respectable position within the educational sector . Not to talk about the propositions made for Ministers and Cabinet Ministers and one would have expected such a widening gap and unfair salary disparities would have rather engaged the attention of organised labour for action to call for an improvement in their salaries and general working condition for their people but interestingly enough that is secondary to them.
We therefore urge the TUC and their subsidiaries to wake up from thier slumber and be seen to be more combative and protective when it comes to basic and fundamental issues affecting the living conditions of the Ghanaian workers and leave overflogged issues that have almost been dealt with by moral society in Ghana.
Mediocrity and Hypocrisy should not be their portion. Competence is a virtue for which reason the Ghanaian workers reposed confidence in them, contributing dues to them every month to provide leadership and negotiate for better condition of service for the workers.
Once upon a time the bitting TUC who was always fighting through their numerous strikes, demonstrations and other means of protest against the government in the name of workers welfare has suddenly lost their relevance
We are therefore, calling on the leadership of TUC and all it’s affiliate unions such as Ghana National Association of Teacher (GNAT), Ghana National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT), Teachers And Educational Workers Union (TEWU), Civil and Local Government Service Staff Association of Ghana (CLOGSAG), Health Service Workers Union (HSWU), Medical Laboratory Professionals Workers Union ( MELPWU ) and all the other unionized bodies to rise up and fight for the welfare of Ghanaian public sector workers. If they fail to do this and seem to be in bed with this government to the detriment of the suffering public sector worker, it will serve as a negative precedence against fighting for public sector workers welfare in future.
Ibrahim A. Adams
Director of Operations ADAM-GH
Azubilla Emmanuel Abdul-Salaam
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