The Trade Unions Congress (TUC), has called on government to give public sector workers a 20% cost of living allowance (COLA).

According to the the TUC, this will help better the lot of public sector workers across the country.

Speaking at this year’s May Day Celebration at the Black Star Square, the General Secretary of the TUC, Dr. Yaw Baah, also called for an overhaul of government’s single spine salary structure, removal of petroleum taxes and an increase in the minimum wage to bring relief to the public sector workforce.

“I will like to conclude with a very very special request to you. Given the rising cost of living, we will like to humbly appeal to you, to use your executive powers to grant a cost of living allowance of at least 20% to all public service workers.

I will like to appeal to you, to use your executive powers to grant a COLA of at least 20% to all public sector workers.

Here, I’m not talking only about those on single spine. I’m also talking about the Armed Forces, the Police Service, the Prison Service, the Immigration Service, the Fire Service and all the security and intelligence agencies. The cost of living allowance must also be extended to workers in the private sector who’re earning just GH¢365 per month”, he stated.

He also added that, “We also expect that this will be extended to all those pensioners on the SSNIT scheme who’re earning just GH¢300 a month.

Mr. President, this will not only cushion workers and pensioners from the harsh effects of inflation. But even more importantly, it will prevent mass poverty in this country amongst the working people, who’re contributing so much to the development of our country”.

Dr. Baah reiterated the increasing cost of living in the country, and wondered why Ghanaians continue to suffer, despite the country’s assets.

“Mr. President, Ghanaians are suffering too much. This is not the country that was envisaged by our leaders who fought with their tears and blood to gain independence for us.

God has endowed us gold, diamond, forest, ocean, oil and other resources, therefore nothing can justify the high incidents of severe poverty, destitution and suffering in Ghana today, 65 years today.

It is obvious to us that the numerous IMF programmes in Ghana did not work. It is also clear to us that the partisan approach to dealing with Ghana’s problems is not working”, he said.

Meanwhile, regarding the welfare of workers, President Akufo-Addo has revealed that a technical committee has been set up by the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations to review the Single Spine Pay Policy.

According to him, this review is expected to give the government answers on whether or not the policy is living up to expectations.

Speaking at the May Day ceremony on Sunday, May 1, he stated that “I am also happy to announce that following the National Labour Conference at Kwahu, the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations and its tripartite partners have set up, as of Tuesday, 26th April, a technical committee to review the Single Spine Pay Policy (SSPP), and advise Government accordingly”.

This year’s May Day celebration was held under the theme, “Protecting Jobs and Incomes in the era of Covid-19 and Beyond”.

President Akufo-Addo stated that the government is expecting the report on the review in July, 2021.

This, he believes, “will help us put an end to most of the unrest we see on the labour front involving public sector workers”.

The Single Spine Pay Policy was introduced by the Government of Ghana and implemented in 2010 to regulate the payment of public service workers, especially those under Article 190 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana

They include public sector employees in the Civil Service, the Judicial Service, the Audit Service, the Ghana Education Service, the Ghana Health Service, the Parliamentary Service, the National Fire Service, Ghana Revenue Authority, the Local Government Service, the Police Service, and the Prisons Service, workers in non-profit public corporations, statutory public services excluding public services such as the Parliament.

The policy has however suffered some challenges.

In a review by Bossman E. Asare of the University of Ghana and Dennis Mpere, some of these challenges included a high public expectation, dissatisfaction with the grading structure by some workers and inadequate financial and human resources facing the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC).

Others are; inadequate education, conditions of service and allowances for workers.

President Akufo-Addo’s comment comes after some government workers over the past few months embarked on strike actions over conditions of service. 

The recent strike action is by the Civil and Local Government Staff Association of Ghana (CLOGSAG).

They went on strike on Thursday, April 21 over the nonpayment of the neutrality allowance.

They argued that despite official reminders and follow-ups, payment of the Neutrality Allowance has not been effected as agreed.

Meanwhile, aside from the review of the Single Spine Pay Policy, President Akufo-Addo said, to protect the jobs of members of organised, his office and key stakeholders are fashioning out the right policies to protect jobs and income.

They include the rollout of employment benefits, and retraining of workers among others.