Director of the Labour and Research Institute of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Dr. Kwabena Nyarko Otoo, has revealed that Ghana has always had a problem with its pay system.
According to him, there has been decline in real wages for workers on the single spine salary structure. Dr Otoo explained that the decline in the real wages is particularly being felt as the country finds its way through the current economic challenges.
Dr Otoo indicated that the average salary of a worker on the single spine is GHS1,800. He noted that if government doesn’t consider an increase in salaries of public sector workers, especially acknowledging the current economic situation, it will have an impact on workers trying to make a living.
“Let me indicate to you that even before this current economic challenge, we’ve always had problems with the pay situation in Ghana. In actual fact, if you take workers on the single spine, our real wages on the single spine have declined since 2012”.Dr. Kwabena Nyarko Otoo
The Director of labour at TUC expressed that the plunge in wages was a contributory factor to the disparities in income received by workers from the single spine structures. Dr Otoo indicated that such disparities can be found between the wages of Article 71 office holders and workers of state enterprises.
“We’ve also had a problem of rising wage in equities in the public sector. So, you compare single spine with say Article 71, you compare with salaries in the state enterprises, then you find that the large number of people on the single spine are actually not given a fair deal in terms of remuneration in Ghana. So, all of these are issues we need to deal with in addition to the issues that have come up in this economic crisis that we find ourselves in”.Dr. Kwabena Nyarko Otoo
Addressing challenges in wages
Following this, Dr. Nyarko Otoo revealed that to address the issue, the Congress has resolved to dealing with issues by taking the concerns of member unions directly to government prior to any form of dialogue and engagement in attaining better conditions of service for workers.
“And we, our approach has always been to deal with issues more holistically. Unions will go on strike, unions will demonstrate, will do an action, but the fact of the matter is this, if you address the issue for one union, the other unions will come up. So, it’s always better that you deal with the issues more holistically rather than piecemeal and in isolated cases”.Dr. Kwabena Nyarko Otoo
In August last year, the General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Dr Yaw Baah, disclosed that the real wage for public sector employees is on a decline in the country. He emphasized that an increment on the real income wage of workers must be considered via the implementation of right measures.
To ameliorate matters, Dr Baah called on government to support the citizens to reduce suffering in the country. Prior to this, the Trades Union Congress had objected to government’s decision not to increase the wages of public workers for the next 3 years.
According to the Congress, “government alone can’t say we are doing this or doing that without having to decide with the other parties; labour and its employers”.
The Union emphatically stated that the deciding power to increase or decrease wages of public workers isn’t the preserve of government alone.