Director of Research and Policy at the Labour and Policy Institute of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Dr. Kwabena Otoo has called on the government to take steps to address the inequality gaps in public sector remuneration to preserve industrial peace and harmony in the country.
Speaking in a media engagement to address the issue of labor agitations over the 4% salary increase for public sector workers, Dr. Otoo indicated that in their negotiations with the government, it was put to them that even though Covid-19 had its attendant strain on the economy, the budget could accommodate any large increase in wages beyond the agreed 4%.
According to Dr. Otoo, with the figures put out by the government in their engagements with the leadership of organized labor, the best agreement both parties could come to was a 4% increase across the board because the government initially had wanted to freeze any increase in salaries due to the impact of Covid-19 on the overall health of the economy.
“With the figures put out by the government during our negotiations, and the general impact of Covid-19 on economies across the globe, the government had wanted to freeze any salary adjustments but we had to jaw to arrive at the current 4% increase to support workers under the prevailing circumstances.
We appreciate that workers would have wanted a more significant increase in wages to mitigate the effects of Covid-19 on them, we were hard-pressed in the discussions with the employer( government ) holding out for a zero percent adjustment due to the constraints Covid-19 has placed on government expenditure and as such we had to arrive at a common ground which suits all parties under the circumstances”.
Furthermore, Dr. Kwabena Otoo admitted that salaries are generally low in the country and charged the government to work assiduously to correct the inequalities which exist In the salary structure of the public sector.
He added that the introduction of the Single Spine Salary structure over a decade ago, has further widened the gap which is causing friction in the public sector over the years.
He urged the government to put in place an independent Presidential Commission to take a critical look at the pay structure of the public Service and make appropriate recommendations to preserve industrial peace and harmony on the labor front.
“ Generally, we admit that salaries are really low in Ghana and there exist huge inequality gaps In the payment structure in the public sector which has been widened by the Single Spine Salary structure which was introduced over a decade ago. Sometimes people who are in certain positions in the public sector, do not get commensurate pay for the jobs they do whilst others are getting better salaries in the same space which is causing friction in the service.
The government as a matter of priority must move beyond verbal commitment to action, by setting up an independent Presidential Commission to do a holistic review of the payment structure of the public sector and make appropriate recommendations that would settle the age-old inequality gaps in remuneration in order to preserve industrial peace and harmony which facilitates the continued growth and development of the public service for the benefit of the country”.