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General News of Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Source: myjoyonline.com

Demo looms if gov't fails to increase salaries – Akomea predicts

Former Member of Parliament (MP)for Okaikoi South, Nana Akomea is predicting a gargantuan industrial strike in the country if government fails to increase the salary of public sector workers.

He said considering the unbridled hardships in the country, workers deserve a salary increase of not less than 14 percent to meet up with the high cost of living.

Nana Akomea made the comment on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen programme Monday, while contributing to discussions on government’s decision not to increase the salaries of public sector workers as part of austerity measure to control the wage bill.

Finance Minster, Seth Terkper, who announced the new measure in Parliament last week said government hopes to cut spending and deal with the rising budget deficit.

He noted that, as part of reforms to keep public sector salaries within an acceptable range, government plans to rationalize the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS), which takes about 52 percent of all revenue.

But this has generated a lot of controversy with the Trades Union Congress (TUC) branding government as “insensitive” to the plight of workers.

The TUC maintained that Mr. Terpker’s announcement on salary freeze is inconsistent with on-going negotiations with stakeholders.

In support, Nana Akomea on Ekosii Sen said the freeze on public sector wages will rather exacerbate the plight of workers most of whom he says can hardly make ends meets.

According to him, workers cannot be told to sacrifice when the Mahama-led administration has “thrown away their taxes recklessly”.

The former MP wondered how the much touted implementation of the single spine pay policy has been blamed for the economic woes of the country, when in 2012, the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) rode on its back to win the election.

Nana Akomea urged government to rescind its decision to save itself from any humiliation from labour groups.

“Government is inviting a major industrial action in the country because labour and their salary issues is a major flush point”, he stressed.

On the contrary, former Member of Parliament (MP) for Adentan, Kojo Adu-Asare said inasmuch as the workers deserve a salary increase, they need to bear with government.

“No one has said they [public sector workers] don’t deserve salary increment but things are not moving on well so the Finance Minister’s announcement is just an appeal to labour to bite the bullet”, he noted.

Kojo Adu Asare urged labour to disregard the vile propaganda by the opposition and sacrifice for the nation to ensure the economy is revived to its once vibrant state.

“We get to a certain point where we took hard decision, therefore, it is time for all of us to give a little bit of ourselves to our nation," he stated.

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