Secretary General of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Dr. Yaw Baah, has justified the decision to accept the meagre increase in the minimum wage for this year and the next, saying it was to prevent any future redundancy as it happened in the 1990s.
For him, the National Tripartite Committee (NTC) arrived at the conclusion to accept the 4 percent and 7 percent base pay for the 2021 and 2022 respectively to avoid a possible repeat of a phenomenon that occurred during the Structural Adjustment Programme.
“Evidence available indicated that further increases might lead to redundancy in the public service. We had to avoid redundancy, by all means, because of the negative social and economic effects of the mass redundancies we witnessed in the 1990s,” he said.
Another reason, he stated, was to avoid the payment of Cost-of-Living-Allowance (COLA) which was introduced in 2014 as a result of non-increment in base pay due to economic crisis the country was facing at the time.
“We made a firm decision that a pay rise, however small, is better than Cost-of-Living-Allowance (COLA). We got government to move from the position of 0 percent to 4 percent for 2021 and 7 percent for 2022. It did not meet our expectation. Neither did it meet the expectations of our members,” he said.
The conditions attached to the increment of 4 percent for 2021 and 7 percent for 2022 by the committee includes government ensuring that all 700,000 public sector workers keep their jobs no matter the economic situation of the country.
Also, Government shall not freeze employment in the public service, workers will be vaccinated against COVID-19 during the agreement period and finally pay the Social Security Contributions with special reference to the second-tier contributions, regularly.
Explaining why negotiations were made for two years, he explained that, that of this year had already been delayed, hence, considerations were made to negotiate for that of 2022.
Mr. Baah urged public sector workers to continue to work towards economic recovery and join hands to fight for fairness in the remuneration system in the public service.
Going forward, he urged the President to establish a commission which is made up of experts from various fields to advise government on public sector salaries for all job holders in the entire public service to ensure fairness.