Editorial: Employers and Labour seek relief for salaries amid COVID-19

The Ghana Employers’ Association (GEA) 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.

Director in Charge of Industrial Relations at the GEA, Joseph Kingsley Amuah, says many of its members have been inundating its office with calls over salary payments, necessitating a meeting with the Finance Minister to ascertain how a portion of the stimulus package can be accessed for this purpose as soon as possible.

For now, there is some trepidation that if care is not taken and the lockdown persists longer than expected, there is a high likelihood that companies are most likely to lay off staff since they are non-operational.

It might be a bit too early to anticipate staff lay-offs now since it is early days yet, but it does not mean management of firms will not consider such an option in the absence of any gainful activity. The GEA is requesting government to absorb salaries of employees for about two months as part of measure to support operations of its members.

Executive Director for the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) Kosi Antwiwaa Yankey has projected that as many as two million jobs may be lost in the country amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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Kosi Yankey noted this when analyzing both the formal and informal sector, and concludes that a lot of jobs will be lost. Thankfully, the GHC90 million facility provided by her office in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation to support MSME’s in the country will ameliorate some of the adverse impact of COVID-19 for SMEs.

Complaints heard by the GEA points to the fact that many of its 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.

COVID-19’s economic impact is weighing down businesses and coming to terms with that is a steep mountain to climb.

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