Finance Minister-designate, Ken Ofori-Atta says government will soon commence negotiations with public service workers and other relevant stakeholders on an acceptable wage increase for workers in that sector.

Some weeks ago, government through the Technical Adviser at the Finance Ministry indicated that due to the adverse effect the pandemic had had on the economy, public service workers were not to expect any wage increment in the next 3 years.

“If you look at the budget, Covid-19 is not expected to abate until the end of 2023 and we’re all looking to be tightening our belts for a while and people should not be expecting huge wage increases in the course of the next few years. This is because we don’t have money to pay for it,” Dr Samuel Nii Noi Ashong said.

This proposed suspension of wage increase, however, was met with backlash from NAGRAT and the TUC.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) stated that government had overstepped its boundaries, as it is the job of the Standing Joint Negotiation Committee to decide on the wages of personnel in the public sector and not the government alone.

But speaking to Parliament’s Appointments Committee, Thursday, Ken Ofori-Atta, in an interaction with ranking member Haruna Iddrisu, said both the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations would work hand-in-hand to help bring a resolution on the matter.

“We have had a relatively peaceful environment and that is because the two ministries have made the special efforts to create a partnership with labour and employers which enables information sharing and understanding of where we are going as a government and I think we have kept faith with that,” he said.

Mr Ofori-Atta further gave the assurance that the decision of wage review would not be unilaterally set by the government, but rather through a negotiation among the relevant stakeholders to come to an agreement conducive for all parties.

“So Mr Chairman, I can assure you that we are clearly aware of the level of salaries that we have for our people. We also know the impact of our revenue and by all means, we will strike a balance that is sustainable to support us. So let me assure you that we will not compromise on fair negotiations.

“There has to be negotiations,” he emphasised.