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Management of NIA unable to meet your demands – Prof Attafuah to staff

The management of the National Identification Authority (NIA) has declared its inability to fulfil requests made by staff regarding their Conditions of Service.

This comes as a reply to the looming threat of a strike by the NIA Division of the Public Service Workers Union.

Staff members have stated that if certain demands, including approved allowances outlined in their Conditions of Service, are not reflected in their March 2024 pay slips, they will initiate an indefinite strike starting from March 25.

Giving more details, the Divisional Chairman of the Public Services Workers Union at the NIA, Francis Bangfudeme Nyuzaghl said the allowances were proposed and submitted to the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission.

"It was only last year when about ten of the workers were dismissed on grounds that their conducts were in contravention of certain clauses of the conditions of service that we looked at the document and we realised that there were certain allowances in the code that we should have been enjoying or provided for us since our inception but these allowances were not being given to us.

"Regrettably, the Professor has always stated that conditions of service documents exist in principle but the allowances stated in it are consolidated into the Single Spine Salary Structure so we are asking a simple question; is NIA the only public institution in Ghana whose allowances have been consolidated into the Single Spine Salary Structure?"

However, the management of NIA says it will not be able to meet the demands of staff about the Conditions of Service.

According to the Head of Administration and Human Resource, Jay Awuah-Peasah, in a letter signed for the Executive Secretary, Prof Kenneth Agyemang Attafuah, NIA described the demands as unrealistic.

“Management is not in the position to implement proposals it has submitted to a third party i.e., FWSC, which alone is the statutory body to duly consider and act on the proposals.

"Following the receipt of the proposals, the FWSC requested NIA to furnish it with additional documents for necessary action.

"The requirement, as noted above, included the SoS document. The PSC is now seized with the SoS document and once it approves, NIA will promptly forward same, together with the other required documents, to FWSC.

Upon receipt of the requisite documents from NIA, the FWSC will negotiate NIA’s proposals with the Ministry of Finance and the Union concerned.

In these circumstances, your demand for the implementation of NIA’s proposals to the FWSC and for same to be reflected in the March 2024 pay slip of staff is unrealistic and cannot be met.”

Here are other excerpts from the Management’s letter:

The following constitutes the response of the Management of the National Identification Authority (NIA) to your letter No. PSWU-NIA D/P/24/V2 dated March 2024 by which you served “formal notice of[your] intention to embark on an indefinite strike action commencing 25th March 2024”:

A. Unresolved Issues

1. Full Implementation of Existing Conditions of Service (CoS)

You contend that “none of the allowances due to staff as provided for in the current CoS document have reflected on [your] pay slips since at least November 2021, when most of [you] were employed by the Authority”.

First, it must be noted that some of the allowances such as Responsibility Allowance and Risk Allowance have been consolidated into employees’ salaries under the Single Spine Salary Structure to which NIA has been migrated since 2014 and, hence, are not available to staff.

Other allowances such as Staff Housing Allowance, Clothing Allowance, Utility Allowance, Entertainment Allowance and Fuel Allowance are now termed Category 4 Allowances under the Single Spine Salary Structure and are available only to Directors and above in NIA (see Ministry of Finance letter dated le February 2014 attached as “Appendix 1”).

Other allowances, termed Category 2 and 3 Allowances under the Single Spine Salary Structure, have been identified, negotiated, and agreed upon by the Public Services Joint Standing Negotiating Committee.

The said allowances are paid based on the evidence of the performance of a required task or the occurrence of an event and paid based on an application by a qualified staff and authorized by the Head of an Entity.

Payment of Allowances Due with Arrears

As no allowances due to any employee remain outstanding or unpaid, this demand has no foundation and cannot be met.

Management rejects your contention that some staff at NIA, including members of your Union, are entitled to allowances under “section 2.3.2, 2.33, 9.4.5iv, 9.4.10”.

As explained and demonstrated above, these specified allowances in the NIA Conditions of Services document have either been consolidated under the Single Spine Salary Structure on which NIA has been placed or are otherwise unavailable to staff. As a result, Management is unable to accede to your demand.

Finally, Management wishes to assure you that it is deeply concerned about the welfare and well-being of all its staff across the country; it has manifested this ardent commitment through several proactive measures it has pursued to improve the conditions of service of its staff before the formation of your Union at NIA.

Management has fully welcomed and appropriately supported the Unions; it will continue to partner with them to achieve our mutual interests.

Management has worked with the leadership of your mother Union and jointly established the joint Management-Union Committee (IMUC) chaired by a senior Management member with the standing assurance of technical, secretarial, logistical, and other support to provide a viable platform for fostering cooperation and collaboration in addressing all your concerns.

This commitment will be sustained and deepened as we work together to build mutual trust. As a result, we ask that you call off your intended strike and withdraw the notice of intended industrial action slated to commence on 25th March 2024 as same has no factual evidentiary or legal foundation; your intended action will only cause undue hardship to the public, particularly prospective consumers of NIA’s registration centres across the country; it will cause needless maximum harm to the Republic of Ghana, and inflict avoidable reputational damage on NIA and the Government of Ghana, in addition to spelling major revenue losses for the State.

In these circumstances, Management looks forward to your exercising good faith, good judgement, and moderation in your approach to this matter in these volatile times.

Management also looks forward to your calling off your planned industrial action as we work together harmoniously, speedily, and sincerely to improve the conditions of service of NIA within the bounds of law and public policy.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.