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General News of Friday, 17 September 2010

Source: myjoyonline

Poor education affecting SSSS implementation

A member of the presidential committee that put together the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) Mr Andy Asamoah has blamed the agitations that have characterised the pay policy on poor education on the scheme.

He said if the implementers of the new salary scheme which was intended to reduce distortions in government pay structure had spent a little more time to let beneficiaries understand the likely differences in salary that may arise between workers on the same level, the agitations may have been minimized.

Prisons officers in Kumasi and elsewhere have gone on demonstrations denouncing what has been offered them under the scheme. They say the salaries – compared to what their contemporaries in the police service were given – amounts to cheating and plain insult.

Custom officers and other government workers have raised similar concerns.

Mr Andy said the piecemeal manner in which the pay policy is being implemented also lent it to the kind of disagreement and agitations that have been witnessed.

He said once proper education and explanations have not been offered and a particular category of workers are paid, what they receive becomes a yardstick for other government workers to measure their entitlements.

To contextualise his argument, Mr Andy said suppose a university lecturer and a medical doctor are both placed on level 16 on the structure, the doctor will certainly receive more pay than the lecturer. But the lecturer has to be explained to that due to the peculiarities associated with the job of the doctor, he is entitled to some allowances - to which the lecturer is not entitled – which when consolidated and added to his salary, will create some disparity between the two.

This disparity, Mr Andy explained would have arisen not as a result of the academic qualification of the two but because of their job demands and when workers, in his opinion understand this, they are likely not to complain bitterly – at least not the scale that has been seen.

While commending the implementers of the policy, he says more room must be created for people to air their grievances, and explanations offered.

“Even though they may not be happy, but once things are explained to you very, very well, even if you are not happy, you may have to accept it,” he stated.

The Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Welfare, Mr Antwi Bosiako Sekyere, admitted that public awareness on the new pay policy has not been good enough.

He however maintained that leaders of the various workers groups have been involved fully at every stage of the implementation process.

Mr Bosiako appealed to “public sector workers and the general public that we need to seek clarification, we need to seek information before we go onto the streets.”

“Surely it is really unfortunate, for example, for the prison officers to just receive your pay which has been increased and then say ‘oh the increase is small’ so instead of going to the source where the increase came from, you just go onto the streets.”

He warned that “if we continue that way, the country will be ungovernable.”

The Deputy Minister argued the Mills government was a listening one and that workers ought to understand that the quantum salary increases are being registered under the pay policy was so huge that the problems being encountered have to be anticipated.

He gave the assurance that everything possible was being done to ensure that the SSSS lives up to its promise of eradicating the distortions that have characterised public pay structure in the country for decades and bring about fairness and equity.