The Civil and Local Government Staff Association (CLOGSA) is currently in disagreement with the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) on issues of Single Spine Salary Negotiations. The Single Spine Pay Policy was initiated by the in 2007 through the Ministry for Public Sector Reforms. When the current NDC Government came into power in January 2009, they announced plans to proceed with the implementation plan towards the January 2010 deadline for the commencement of the Pay Policy. The implementation was supposed to commence after the release of a Government White Paper on the Pay Policy.
However, two reasons made it impossible to meet the January 2010 implementation target. One, a number of the labour stakeholders such as the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) and CLOGSA had raised dissatisfaction with the Job Evaluation results involving some• job positions of their members. And, two, the Government white paper was late in coming and was released late-November 2009. It was therefore not possible to meet the 1st January 2010 deadline as agreed by the various stakeholders, including the over-40 labour unions (Organised Labour) led by the TUC. The new date for the effective implementation was rescheduled to 1st July 2010.
The Fair Wages and Salaries Commission and Organised Labour agreed to re-evaluate all jobs which had attracted complaints from some labour unions. A consortium of Consultants was then put together and tasked to re-evaluate all jobs that had specific complaints. The Consultants completed their work well in time for the implementation. A negotiation timetable was agreed by the parties and a Public Sector Joint Standing Negotiating Committee was officially formed to commence negotiations on the base pay as well as pay relativities for the Single Spine Salary Structure.
Before the Commencement of the Negotiations, however, CLOGSA pulled out of the negotiations – citing reasons including that the FWSC was not adequately responding to their demands (concerns). CLOGSA then filed a petition before the National Labour Commission (NLC). After a few meetings facilitated between the parties, and before the NLC could give its ruling on the matter, CLOGSA withdrew from the hearings, citing as reason no confidence in the NLC – which it felt was being unduly influenced by the FWSC.
Negotiations are over with Organised Labour without CLOGSA. Base pay for the SSSS is determined as well as the relativities between pay levels. CLOGSA undertook a demonstration on the 6th of July 2010 to drive home demands for the policy implementation to be halted. They presented a petition to President John Evans Attah Mills, demanding for the FWSC to engage them in separate Negotiations. In reaction to this demand, the Minister for Employment and Social Welfare has come out to state that such demands are untenable and unfair. The FWSC continues to state that it is mandated to negotiate with Organised Labour and cannot meet with individual unions. More so, it has been alleged that CLOGSA does not possess a Collective
Bargaining Certificate and therefore cannot request to negotiate separately with the FWSC. Government and other Labour Consultants continue to call on CLOGSA to return to the Negotiation table to iron out its grievances.
The Way Forward:
Though the only labour group in over 40 public sector unions, CLOGSA is strategically placed as its members are in charge of directly executing government business. However, it is simply impractical for the FWSC to negotiate separately with CLOGSA since there is currency no legal basis for that, and the executives of CLOGSA must be told so emphatically. Further, such demands seem to be drawing the whole process back to the days of the Ghana Universal Salary Structure (GUSS) days. When this stand-off continues and blows up into an industrial action, the economy will slow down – and hence affect major national economic targets such as inflation and general G D P growth rate.
Labour Consultants have suggested a neutral third-party to be sought to intervene in the stand-off amidst calls by stakeholders for CLOGSA to return to the negotiation table. However, no-one has so far placed the responsibility of dealing with this national problem at the doorstep of Organised Labour.
In our opinion, CLOGSA falls under the ambit of Organised Labour, and hence Organised Labour should be responsible for ‘whipping’ CLOGSA into line. Organised Labour is hereby called upon to lobby CLOGSA executives to return to the negotiating table to finalise discussions on their concerns and grievances. Beyond that, the Civil Service Board in conjunction with the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare and the Ministry of Local Government should join forces and lobby executives of CLOGSA towards the amicable settlement of this matter.
This is indeed a national issue that cannot be handled with kid gloves!!!
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