Pay workers Cost of Living Allowance and stop the chorus on Covid-19 challenges – TEWU tells govt

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The leadership and management of the Teachers and Educational Workers’ Union (TEWU) of the Trades Union Congress (TUC-Ghana) has said the government of Ghana should not hide behind the impact of Covid to decide not to enhance the condition of workers.

In its May Day message to Ghanaians on Sunday May 1, TEWU said as labour leaders, they have been resolute, in ensuring that the workers’ front is kept busy and labour continues to produce to keep the country running.

“Fuel prices have gone up multiple times and for that matter, transport fares have increased. Prices of goods (especially food) and services are galloping, but it is sad to say that salaries of workers have not gone up, or better still they have remained stagnant. In real sense, salaries have dipped.

“In view of these difficult times, we as workers leaders, earlier in the year, made a proposal to government that with the spate of increase, the authorities should consider giving workers, Cost of Living Allowance (COLA), to at least cushion workers against these prices’ hikes. We have been expecting that government will engage us on it, unfortunately, there has been dead silence from government on this proposal.

“Much as government continues to say COVID-19 has challenged this, and has done that at the Macro level, yes, but to TEWU, at the micro level and at individual levels, COVID-19 has also affected members and other Ghanaian workers. COVID-19 did cause some of our members to live on half-pay. Things have not changed. COVID-19 caused some people to lose their jobs in the private sector, what is government doing about all these. So much as COVID-19 has posed a challenge to government, it is equally the same at the individual homes.”

Below is the full statement…

TEACHERS AND EDUCATIONAL WORKERS’ UNION, TEWU OF TUC-GHANA

2022 MAY DAY MESSAGE.

The leadership and management of the Teachers and Educational Workers’ Union, TEWU of TUC-Ghana, commend workers the world over, particularly, Ghanaian workers in the educational and allied sectors, for their efforts in keeping the economy running. There is no doubt that on this special day, workers feel on top of their world, as they are acknowledged for their various contributions in socio-economic progress of society.

In this good will message to all our members, the government and other social partners, TEWU leadership will focus on four (4) major areas which are critical to enhancing the welfare and living conditions of Ghanaian workers, who are bending over backwards for the country’s progress. These four areas are:

  1. PAY COST OF LIVING ALLOWANCE (COLA) TO WORKERS
  2. NO ROOM FOR SINGLE DIGIT INCREMENT FOR 2023 BASE PAY
  3. SPEED UP NEGOTIATIONS ON CONTINUOUS PROFESSIONAL AND SKILLS DEVELOPMENT ALLOWANCE AND REVIEWING COLLECTIVE AGREEMENTS
  4. TEWU’S STRIDES IN TACKLING CRITICAL AILMENT CONDITIONS OF MEMBERS AND PAYMENT OF ENHANCED FUNERAL PACKAGES

GOVT SHOULD PAY WORKERS COLA AND STOP THE CHORUS ON COVI-19 CHALLENGES

So soon, another May Day is with us, but in very difficult times, especially with increases in prices of goods and services everywhere. As labour leaders, we have been resolute, in ensuring that the workers’ front is kept busy and labour continues to produce to keep the country running.

Fuel prices have gone up multiple times and for that matter, transport fares have increased. Prices of goods (especially food) and services are galloping, but it is sad to say that salaries of workers have not gone up, or better still they have remained stagnant. In real sense, salaries have dipped.


In view of these difficult times, we as workers leaders, earlier in the year, made a proposal to government that with the spate of increase, the authorities should consider giving workers, Cost of Living Allowance (COLA), to at least cushion workers against these prices’ hikes. We have been expecting that government will engage us on it, unfortunately, there has been dead silence from government on this proposal.

Much as government continues to say COVID-19 has challenged this, and has done that at the Macro level, yes, but to TEWU, at the micro level and at individual levels, COVID-19 has also affected members and other Ghanaian workers. COVID-19 did cause some of our members to live on half-pay. Things have not changed. COVID-19 caused some people to lose their jobs in the private sector, what is government doing about all these. So much as COVID-19 has posed a challenge to government, it is equally the same at the individual homes. 

We know it is the desire of Government to ensure that workers are able to give off their best to ensure that the Country runs effectively, it is our expectation that the hardship on the worker be reduced.

We wish to let government know that in these difficult times of hikes in prices, workers have had enough of government’s chorus at the least opportunity pointing at COVID-19 for the country’s developmental difficulties. We expects the government to rather pursue more proactive practical measures, like paying COST OF LIVING ALLOWANCE (COLA), to give the Ghanaian worker some little comfort, which invariably, will impact positively on the generality of citizens’ living conditions.

TEWU WON’T ACCEPT SINGLE DIGIT INCREMENT FOR 2023 BASE PAY

We are preparing the grounds for negotiation of a minimum wage and the base pay for 2023. At the last negotiations, when 4 per cent and 7 per cent increases were offered for 2021 and 2022 respectively, the spontaneous agitation from the larger workers front, was not an easy task, but union leaders managed to calm tempers. The agitated workers demanded that, their leaders should go back to the negotiating table, and get something better than the when 4 per cent and 7 per cent increase offered for 2021 and 2022 respectively. They used all sort of unprintable words to describe the leaders of organized labour, accusing them of betrayal.

It is the hope of TEWU that at the negotiation for 2023 base pay, government would not insist on a single digit increase, but a meaningful increase that will cushion workers. Now that inflation is hovering above 19%, there is so much damage and pressure brought on the Ghanaian worker and his or her salary. It is in this light that, TEWU leaders say, a single digit upward adjustment of the base pay will NOT BE ACCEPTED UNDER ANY CONDITION presented by government.

SPEED UP NEGOTIATION ON PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMNT ALLOWANCE AND REVIEW OF COLLECTIVE AGREEMENTS

We are happy to note that since TEWU suspended its industrial action early January, 2022, in a matter relating to the Continuous Professional and Skills Development Allowance, the Technical Committee set up to handle the issue, has made progressive recommendations to finding lasting solutions to the impasse. TEWU leadership is therefore calling on the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC), to hasten the negotiation processes with the parties, for the signing of the necessary agreement to put the issue to rest.  There are serious agitations by our members on this apparent discrimination against them on this allowance. Let us conclude and have this allowance paid to avert any further disturbances in our education sector.  

TEWU is also calling the Management of the Ghana Education Service to critically consider and address other issues of concern to the Non-teaching staff, like promotions, transfers, upgrade, placement on the Single Spine Salary Structure with different Classes and different grade points. TEWU acknowledges that some of the concerns will call for a total restructuring of the Scheme of Service and we need to painstakingly go through the exercise to stand the test of time. It is expected that things will be done with some care, so that there will be a well-structured resolution to the many problems that TEWU has placed before GES Management.

On Public Universities, TEWU is hopeful that the needed data will be provided to conclude discussion on the outstanding issue with negotiation at the next meeting to conclude the matter on payment of imminent hazard allowance.

REVIEWING CONDITIONS OF SERVICE

We also urge the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission, GTEC, the Managements of the Universities to agree to implement issues that the parties have already concluded negotiations on regarding the Conditions of Service, which started way back in 2019, while a road map is fashioned out on how to speed up work on the ones pending.

For the Ghana Library Authority and Museums and Monuments Board, their conditions of service have been presented to Fair Wages and Salaries Commission, FWSC. It is a matter of the Commission fixing a convenient time for the parties, to meet, so that we can conclude negotiations within the second quarter with these two institutions peacefully for industrial harmony.

TEWU MAKES GIANT STRIDES IN ENHANCING MEMBERS’ HEALTHCARE

We wish to inform our cherished members and Ghanaians in general; that, while making demands on government to improve the condition of workers, we at TEWU, continue to adopt proactive and innovative measures to enhance the welfare of our members. TEWU National Executive Council, approved the services of an insurance company to handle some welfare aspects of our members, in the area of healthcare, where critical illnesses have become a dreadful situation for workers. The policy takes care of critical illness such as stroke, injuries and other things. Again, when a member is hospitalized, he or she receives money to defray part of the hospital bills.

There is also an enhanced funeral package for members. The policy provides that if a member dies, there is a reasonable donation coming from the Union. Hitherto we didn’t have such things. when someone dies, it is the people around him or her and those who will be privileged to attend the funeral that will make voluntary contributions.  What is even interesting is that the policy covers the spouses of members. This is the first time it is happening.

All these will be done at no cost to the member.  The Union will be financing these insurance packages, by setting aside some percentage or some money from the dues being paid by members. There is no doubt that this is a forward movement for TEWU and its membership.

FROM: MARK DANKYIRA KORANKYE

  GENERAL SECRETARY – TEWU   

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana

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