COVID-19: Employers, unions to meet gov’t over salary payments

  • as some companies lay off workers
  • crunch time beckons for companies

The Ghana Employers’ Association and Organised Labor are pushing for a meeting with the Ministry of Finance, to among other issues, deliberate on how government can absorb a portion of workers’ salaries to help provide some relief.

According to them, the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country, coupled with the imposition of a partial lockdown of Greater Accra, Kasoa and Greater Kumasi, has put a huge strain on the finances of organizations, making it difficult to foot salaries of employees in the coming months.

Already, many of their members have struggled to pay March salaries and are in the dilemma on how to pay that of April and coming months if the situation is not soon reversed.

Director in Charge of Industrial Relations at the Ghana Employers Association, Joseph Kingsley Amuah told the B&FT in an interview that many of its members have been inundating the office with calls over salary payments, necessitating the meeting with the Finance Minister to ascertain how a portion of the stimulus package can be accessed for this purpose as soon as possible.

He added that, if care is not taken more organizations would have to lay off staff since they are non-operational at the moment.

“I have been receiving calls from my members, they want to know what decision to take; some are asking if they should make their employees go on compulsory leave without pay or they should just lay off workers and call them back after things settle.

All these are on the table but we need to speak to the finance minister and get more clarification on how to access the stimulus package announced by the President before we can give any proper advice to our members,” Mr. Amuah told the paper.

He added that the association has requested government to absorb salaries of employees for about two months as part of measure to support operations of its members. “We want to iron out all the fine details and know the way forward. The President has announced free water we want to know how industries are also going to benefit from this.”

Some labor consultants have already predicted that salary payments for April, May and June will be an uphill task for many organisations.

Industrial Relation Practitioner, Mohammed Affum told the B&FT that government must, as a matter of urgency, make known whatever package is available to help business communicate effectively with their employees. He said some organization have begun laying off workers while others are maintaining staff on payroll until their funds run out.

“We are not in normal times, therefore, normal industrial practices will not work. Industry is not producing, they are not making any income, how would they get money to pay for their bills and pay workers? Government must make known what it has for industry so they can tell their employees.

Some have already laid workers off, but the question is, when you lay off workers you have to give some redundancy package, in these times how many companies would want to do that? There is no money to even begin the conversation,” Mr. Affum said.



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