The National Tripartite Committee is awaiting a report from its technical committee to commence negotiations on the new National Daily minimum wage.

Chief Executive of the Ghana Employers Association, Alex Frimpong who is a member of committee disclosed this on PM Express Business Edition on April 15, 2021.

Speaking with host George Wiafe, Mr Frimpong noted that “the technical sub-committee have finalised their work and should submit its report for consideration for all the committee members.”

According to Mr. Frimpong, following the completion of this working that should pave the way for some finality to be brought on the salary negotiations.

Concerns of some members of organised labour and industry experts

The assurance from Mr. Frimpong follows concerns from organized labour that government has delayed in settling on a new National Daily Minimum wage.

According to the General Secretary of the General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) Edward Kareweh, the situation as unfortunate as almost four months going into the year this negotiations have not been finalised.

On concerns that the realistic demands  from public workers are the reasons for huge wage bill, Mr. Kareweh noted that the time has come for an investigation to be commissioned into the whole wage bill to establish those that are pushing undue pressure on the total compensation as capture in the budget.   

Also on the show, Former Finance Minister Seth Terkper noted that under the current Public Financial Management Act, government is supposed to be finalising discussions on the minimum wage for 2022 by now, “this should mean that government might be in areas for about two years.”

Mr Terkper noted that the provision was put in the law to ensure that determination of the minimum wage does not destabilize the budget.

“This is to ensure that government will have enough time for it to be captured in the budget preparation,” he said.

National Daily Minimum wage and National Budget

The Ghana Labour Act currently proposes the establishment of National Tripartite Committee, which will determine National Daily Minimum wage and other labour market issues as well as advise the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations on other developments on the market.

It is made up the sector minister (Employment Minister and Minister of finance minister as well), five representatives of the employers and organisation as well as Five other representatives from organized labour. 

A careful look at Ghana’s National Budget over the years has showed that government has spent a significant amount of its budget on total compensation for public sector workers. 

For instance in the 2021, Government is planning to spend about $30.4 billion as total compensation for employers in the public sector.

But the former Finance Minister noted that the time has come to look for other sustained means for funding compensation of public sector workers, which should complement other sources like taxes.

Mr. Terkper fuether suggested another national dialogue on this issue.

Workers and Covid-19

Workers have been one of the biggest casualties of the Covid-19, especially those in the hospitality sector.

The development has resulted in layoffs while some others have been asked to stay at home for a while until the situation improves.

However, recent Bank of Ghana data on labour demand by businesses showed that, the number of the jobs advertised in the dailies and online have reached 3000, this is slightly higher than the pre-pandemic levels.

But Labour Consultant Austin Gamey noted that we should be careful on how we interpret this data, and not link it to the fact that businesses are turning the corner.