Embargo on salary increment not enough, forfeit ex gratia – TUC to Akufo-Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo would have done a big service to Ghana if he had announced that he and all government appointees will give up their ex gratia at the end of the four-year term in office as part of their efforts to ease the burden on the local economy owing to the coronavirus pandemic, Mr Joshua Ansah, Deputy Secretary General at the Trades Union Congress (TUC), has said.

Mr Ansah told Dzifa Bampoh on the First Take on 3FM Wednesday May 5 that the president’s decision to place the embargo on the salary increment for this year is not enough.

Mr Akufo-Addo said while speaking at this year’s May Day celebration on Saturday May 1 that “…In addition the first unemployment insurance scheme ceded by government is being championed by the social partnership council and it is to be established by year end.

“We also use this year to ensure that all workers are vaccinated to protect their lives and enhance their productivity. I have taken the decision to freeze salary increment for this year, 2021 for myself as president, the vice president, ministers, deputy ministers and all appointees of the executive.

“It is our modest contribution to reduce the damage to our public revenue and to help hasten our nation’s recovery from the ravages of the pandemic.”

Dismissing concerns that the president’s decision will have a ripple effect on salaries of other public sector workers, Mr Joshua Ansah said that the tripartite committee responsible for the determination of the new minimum wage has not concluded on any such decision.

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Apart from the tripartite committee, he explained, no other person can single-handedly make a determination as to whether or not salaries of workers will be increased.

“No one party can just sit in his or her own comfort zone and determine salary of workers of this country.

“Salaries are determined by the tripartite committee and as far as I am aware, as far as the tripartite committee has not concluded the negotiations,  I cannot say and nobody can also that salary [increment] are going to be frozen for this period.

“I think that we should all wait and see when the negotiations for minimum wage commences and at the end of the negotiations you will all know the outcome of the meeting. But for me, as I sit here right now, there is no way that I can say that there is not going to be salary increase because tripartite has not determined no or zero salary increase.

“Let us hope that the tripartite committee will be up and doing and then come up with what is expected of the committee.”

He added “But for now if the government and appointees have frozen their incomes, we thank God that they have done it.

“But if you compare their salaries to the ordinary workers to an appointee I think the difference is clear and there is no way workers will say that they are also freezing our salaries. Workers had already sacrificed for complete one year.”

When Dzifa asked him whether or not it would have been a big sacrifice, if government has said that at the end of the four years they would not take ex gratia, he said “That is it. But once they did not talk about the ex gratia and they are talking about monthly salary, I don t think it is enough.”

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By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana