Minority spokesperson on Employment and Social Welfare, Dr Kwabena Donkor, has described as a “misnomer” the decision by the Controller and Accountant General’s Department to withhold salaries of public sector workers without Ghana card from December 1.
According to him, a worker on a controller’s payroll has a “contract of employment” which does not include the “production of a Ghana card”.
Mr Donkor noted that if using the Ghana card can help us prevent fraud and administer the payroll more efficiently, then it is “a good thing”. However, he maintained that the methodology must also serve the interest of workers.
Coming under heavy criticism, there has been numerous calls on the Controller to review its December 1 deadline for all public sector workers to either get the Ghana Card or forfeit their salary.
“That deadline is a misnomer; it’s a poor start. Let the Minister for Employment, the Minister for Finance and other elected official engage organized labour… and other trade union representatives… in sufficient time”.Dr Kwabena Donkor
Mr Donkor further bemoaned the plight of those who do not have the Ghana card, saying, they “now have to go and pay above GHC200 to get a Ghana card”. He expressed the need for government to also extend the deadline for employees to acquire their Ghana card.
NAGRAT demand Controller and Accountant General to retract directive
Wading in on the conversation, the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), has opposed the move by government to withhold salaries of workers without the Ghana card.
President of NAGRAT, Angel Carbonu, has called on the Controller and Accountant General to retract the directive.
Describing it as “unacceptable”, he revealed that it is not right for government or the Controller to “tie anything at all to our salaries”.
Mr Carbonu explained that there’s a principle in labour relationship and the Controller has no right to use the “workers compensation as a bait to push through policies”.
Mr Carbonu called on government to discuss things of such magnitude with workers and find ways of ensuring workers understand the “usefulness of the policy”. By this, he noted that government can help get such workers on board rather than “coercing workers” and threatening “to push through policies”.
Recounting a precedent, the NAGRAT President indicated that this not the “first time that this is done”. He revealed that government had sometime back threatened workers to register on the e-zwich platform to ensure the payment of their salaries.
“Workers had to come out and complain and agitate against that for the policy to be withdrawn. They are doing the same thing with the Ghana card. Can they tell us the challenges people have had in registering…? Are you using the Ghana card to replace the staff identity card…? So, we don’t accept this and we want the Controller and Accountant General to withdraw the threat and engage workers within the confines of good labour practice?”Mr Angel Carbonu
Currently, registration for Ghana cards are ongoing, albeit, there have been concerns about long winding queues and the slow manner in which the process is being handled.