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Business News of Friday, 2 November 2012

Source: GNA

Give workers special allowance for delay in paying market premium - LGWU

The Local Government Workers Union (LGWU) has appealed for a special allowance for public sector workers in view of the delay in developing guidelines for the payment of premium under the Single Spine Pay Policy.

A statement signed by Mr. Joe Boahen, General Secretary of the Union on Friday said: “It is the view of the LGWU that payment of what it terms the ‘special allowance’ will prevent sections of public sector workers wanting to embark on strike, which does not augur well for the country, especially at this critical time the country is preparing to go to the polls in December.”

It said such agitations if care was not taken could be seen as trying to bully the government to accede to their demands.

The decision was taken at the Management and Finance Committee meeting of the LGWU on October, 31st 2012 in Accra. The meeting was in response to reports that members of the Union were being forced to go on strike by some leaders who were not part of the LGWU.

The LGWU leadership and other leaders at the Public Service Joint Standing Negotiating Committee at its meeting in August 2010 agreed on some modalities with regard to the payment of the premium. “In the view of the LGWU it is just fair that all parties wait for the outcome on how it will be operationalised.”

“The LGWU acknowledges the delay in the payment of premium under the SSPP. The LGWU is requesting its members with Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, MMDAs not to join any group of workers in demonstration or strike until the guidelines on the payment of the premium are out.”

The Union, therefore, urged the government and the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission to expedite action on the guidelines to prevent any future industrial unrest.

“This is because it can undermine the new pay policy which is being implemented in phases. The leadership of the LGWU assures the rank and file that when the guidelines for the premium are finalized it will go all length to ensure that those who are qualified will be fully paid.

“We the LGWU believe that any rush to pay any category of workers market premium has the potential to cause industrial unrest and especially coming at a time the nation is preparing for general election. What government and other stakeholders should do is to meet as a matter of urgency and deliberate on what could be done in the interim to cushion public sector workers against hardship confronting them.”

The Union, however, thinks the interim measure under which some public sector workers are receiving lump sum following the delay of paying the premium could fuel agitation among some workers and the earlier the guidelines are put in place the better.

The LGWU also appealed to the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission to step up its public education of the document on the market premium so that it would clear the doubts about its payment. Market Premium according to the Government White Paper on the Single Spine Pay Policy (SSPP) is a "monetary incentive paid to attract and retain critical skills in short supply within the economy.

The premium is to bring the salaries of skills in short supply to be close or equal to the actual market value of such skills.The rationale is to enable the public services compete favourably for such skills with the private sector.

To avoid abuse of this facility, clear guidelines for identifying jobs which qualify for market premiums is expected to be developed and reviewed periodically by the Fair wages and Salaries Commission.

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