…not impressed with executive pay-freeze
Public servants have made it clear that they will not accept any proposal to freeze base pay increment as the executive has done, citing economic challenges. According to them, the cost of living has gone up astronomically in the past year due to effects of the pandemic on trade and commerce.
With the commencement of base pay negotiations after determination of the 2021 National Daily Minimum Wage by social partners made up of government, labour unions and employers, the leadership of public servants have said that they expect government to understand the plight of workers and increase their base pay. Currently, it is not clear what percentage increase they are pushing for.
Speaking to the B&FT, the Executive Secretary, Civil and Local Government Staff Association, Ghana (CLOGSAG), Isaac Bampoe Addo, said public servants are grateful to government for ensuring the security of their jobs during the peak of COVID-19 – but workers will need some more support to survive post-COVID-19, and an increase in the base pay would do workers a lot of good.
“We are in this meeting with the knowledge that it has not been an easy year; COVID-19 and its implications have been dire on the national purse, and we factor this into the negotiations. We will look at the sustainability of jobs and survival of the economy as well.
“In the public service, nobody was sacked or made redundant, and we want to commend government for that; but the economic situation calls for some increases. There have been increases in transport fares, foodstuffs and other things. We will look at all these things and strike a balance. We are entering these negotiations with good faith, and we believe it is the same for government.”
Early this year, there were rumours that there would be no huge pay increase for public servants due to the economic impact COVID-19. But President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo allayed the fears of public sector workers at the 11th quadrennial delegates congress of the Trades Union Congress (TUC). “Let me reiterate, the salary increments for public sector workers have not been frozen,” the president said.
But after that assignment, the president announced that his outfit – together with that of Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and all members of the executive – will not see any increase in salary this year.
For labour expert Francis Agyemang, this is a signal of the difficult times government finds itself in, and public servants must be cautiously optimistic and ready to support the economic recovery plan of government considering the goodwill showed during the peak of COVID-19.
“It is the right of CLOGSAG to push for an increase in the base pay, and that is really what is expected; but when the nation has made it clear that some sacrifices are being made to resuscitate the economy, public servants need to contribute so that in future a higher demand can be made on government,” Mr. Agyemang said.