The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has taken objection to the government’s decision not to increase the wages of public workers for the next 3 years.
They say “Government alone can’t say we are doing this or doing that without having to decide with the other parties; labor and its employers,” the Union stated.
According to the TUC Public Relations Officer during an interaction with the media, the power to decide on the wages of public workers, be it an increase or decrease, does not lie in the hands of the government alone.
Mrs. Naa Ayeley Ardayfio bemoaned the undue pressure placed on workers to compromise on their salaries and added that it is the job of the Standing Joint Negotiation Committee to decide on the wages of personnel in the public sector and not the government.
She said: “You think it is the workers that have to give? It is always the case that the workers are at the tail of everything. And in any case, as we are all tightening our belts, then the belt must be tightened across the board. There is a Standing Joint Negotiation Committee and if that perhaps is not working, we should go to the tripartite.
“That is where the basic salary would be decided. So you don’t expect one of the parties – yes we are talking about the government running the economy and all that but you are not expecting that government – will unilaterally take the decision that we are going to pay salary or not,” she added.
Further to this, the President of the Graduate Teachers Association of Ghana (NAGRAT), Angel Carbonu also opined that it is unacceptable for the government to take such a decision especially when it has introduced new levies and taxes.
“That is highly unacceptable. Unacceptable because for the government to say for the next three years we should not expect anything appreciable. Are all economic factors being held constant?
“Are the prices of goods and services being held constant? Are we not part of society when it comes to increasing fuel cost which leads to increase transportation, accommodation and so on and so forth?” he stressed.
He further urged the government not to let workers in the public sector pay for the government’s inefficiencies in revenue collection.
“If you are not collecting the revenue you are supposed to collect, if you are not correcting the loopholes that are in the revenue collection chain and for that matter, we don’t collect enough, you don’t take it on Ghanaian workers.
“So please, the workers of this country cannot be sacrificed on the altar of an economy that has problems,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, the Technical Adviser at the Ministry of Finance, Dr. Samuel Nii Noi Ashong on Wednesday also indicated that government does not have enough money in its coffers to undertake wage increment in the public sector.
“If you look at the Budget, Covid-19 is not expected to abate until the end of 2023 and we’re all looking to be tightening our belts for a while and people should not be expecting huge wage increases in the course of the next few years. This is because we don’t have money to pay for it,” he said.