Public servants see lowest pay rise in a decade

  • pay goes up by 4, 7% in 2021, 2022
  • Labour unhappy with quantum
  • Gov’t cites job sustainability, economic recovery   

Public servants will see a 4percent pay rise in their base pay this year, the lowest increment since the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) begun the Public Services Joint Standing Negotiating Committee (PSJSNC) negotiations in 2010.

The committee, made up of government, organised labour and employers have agreed to a 4 percent increase in base pay for public sector workers in 2021. They have also agreed to a 7 percent base pay increase for 2022. This means that if you are paid GH¢1,000, you will receive a GH¢40 top-up this year.

In 2011, public servants earn a 20 percent increase in their base pay, the highest on record and since then, the increment has been on the decline. In 2012 and 2013 the increment was 18 and 10 percent respectively. In 2014, government gave them a Cost-of-Living Allowance (COLA) of 10 percent; in 2015, 13 percent increment was announced. In 2016, 2017 and 2018, the base pay was increased by 10, 12.5 and 11 percent. In 2019 and 2020 public sector workers enjoyed a 10 percent increase in the base pay. respectively.

Gov’t labour negotiation

Organized Labour had proposed a 15 percent rise for both years but subsequently reduced it to 10 percent each. But government insisted on its earlier proposal of 4 and 6 percent for 2021 and 2022 respectively. However, as organized Labour kept on with its proposed figures of 10 percent for both years, government tabled 4 percent and 7percent for 2021 and 2022.

Gov’t’s reasons

Government, represented by the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffour Awuah and Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta cited the effect of COVID-19 on the economy and pleaded with labour to find a middle ground to support the economic recovery process.

According to government, the state would be forced to retrench some public sector workers and halt employment if they are forced to agree with the 10 percent increase for both years. Organized Labour after some caucus deliberations on the issue raised by government accepted the proposal of 4 percent and 7 percent for 2021 and 2022 respectively as a means to protect the jobs and help in the economic recovery process.

Conditions from labour

Organized Labour however pushed for some conditions; that the agreement takes effect from 1st January, 2021 with the payment of arrears spread as follows; month 1 (January) arrears payment added on to August salary, month 2 arrears (February) added to September; in the same other for October and November and 2 months arrears on December 2021 completing the 6 months arrears.

The second condition was an agreement that there would be no retrenchment during the period. The third is for government to continue to recruit into the public sector. Fourth was for government to ensure that vaccines are made available for public sector workers. Lastly was that government ensure full payment of Tier 2 pension.

Labour unhappy

The Industrial Relations Officer of the Public Services Workers Union in charge of the three Bono regions (Ahafo, Bono East and Bono), Kofi Asare Asianoma told the B&FT in an interview that, organised labour is not happy with the increment considering the difficult times public sector workers find themselves.

“Public sector workers are grateful that their jobs were protected during COVID-19 but they are currently in very difficult economic times. The budget brought new taxes; fuel and transports are soaring, school fees are skyrocketing as well; 4 and 7 percent is peanut. But we recognize that we all have to contribute something to make the economy bounce back quickly,” Mr. Asianoma said.

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