Chief Executive Officer of the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC), Benjamin Arthur, has debunked claims that the Commission is avoiding payment of public sector workers in the country.
According to him, the payment of salaries and other remuneration to public sector workers is equally dependent on their performance in their workplaces. Reacting to concerns raised by UTAG over the Commission’s seeming disparity in the remuneration of Article 71 office holders and other public sector workers, Mr Arthur explained that it is necessary to link actual work done by employees to wages earned. He noted that when effectively undertaken, payment made based on productivity will ensure that even among lecturers, teachers, and other sector employees, their output will determine what they receive.
“It is not a fact that we are not paying fair wages to workers in the country. We already have in existence, under Article 36 of our 1992 Constitution, that makes it imperative to match pay and productivity and it mentions that, in order for fair and realistic wages to be paid, there’s a need to tie all those things in the promotion of productivity”.Bejamin Arthur
He made these revelations following the strike action engendered by the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) which withdrew its services on Monday, January 10. Per the Association, the strike is occasioned by the government’s failure to address the worsening conditions of service of lecturers.
In a bid to resolve the issue between the two parties, Mr Arthur called for engagement between UTAG and the Commission. He indicated that dialogue must be undertaken “dispassionately” and piloted to make sure it’s a move that will work for both parties.
“I’ll take this opportunity to appeal to our lecturers that for us, there’s a need to engage, and when we have grievances, let us use the laid down procedures for addressing them and that they should call off the strike. The wage mechanism in Ghana depends largely on collective bargaining mechanisms, so definitely, if there are issues with terms and conditions, our approach is that we need to engage on them”.Benjamin Arthur
UTAG-UG Chapter refuse to negotiate with government
On his part, Prof Ransford Gyampo, Secretary of the University of Ghana chapter of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UG UTAG), lamented the woeful state of lecturers and the lack of attention being given to their working conditions. He expressed that the association has been engaging on its conditions of service since 2013 till date and cannot engage in “perpetuity” because it does not eat “engagements and negotiations”.
“Our people are saying that they are not being paid fairly. We teach people today, they get out of school tomorrow, they become Article 71 officeholders [and] then they see us and mock us telling us that being a teacher was our choice but we all can’t leave the classroom to go join politics”.Prof Ransford Gyampo
Prof Gyampo rehashed that until the association’s demands are met, members will not return to work and neither will they hold any negotiations with the government since negotiations over the years have not yielded any positive results.