General News of Thursday, 15 September 2016
The Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) has said it has no intention of introducing new allowances for public sector workers.
According to the Commission, ever since government began implementation of the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) about six years ago, they have been able to reduce the 96 allowance categories to 30 and is not ready to introduce new ones.
This comes on the back of demands by workers of the Electoral Commission (EC) for a 50% increment in their basic salaries as unsociable allowance as well as demands by Government and Hospital Pharmacists Association (GHOSPA) for changes in its market premiums.
GHOSPA is currently on strike while workers of the EC in a leak memo to the FWSC are asking for allowances to compensate them for their inability to engage in social and political activities as staff of a neutral organization.
But speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show on Thursday, the Chief Executive Officer of the FWSC, George Smith Graham said though his outfit is ready to engage the EC staff, it will not yield to any demand that would adversely affect the salary structure.
“They’ve written to us and so far as we are concerned, it is normal for any labour union to make any demand. It is not something that is part of the categories two or three allowances that we are implementing currently but we will sit down with them, have a discussion and the things that we can accommodate from the general request, it will be accommodated but things that cannot be accommodated, we will tell them.
We will not entertain the introduction of new allowances into the system because it has taken us several years to make sure we get to this stage where we abolish the multiplicity of allowances that existed in the public service and we’ve come very far to allow introduction of new allowances,” he added.
96 allowances abolished
Mr. Graham explained that ever since the new salary structure was introduced, the wages commission has been able to abolish close to a hundred different type of allowances.
“We are not introducing new allowances; we had about 96 allowances in the public service. All these 96 allowances have been abolished; we now have about 30 which are not even regular allowances people take. Because the aim is to move into ultimate consolidation of allowances.
So any union can submit their allowances to us, we will look at it, if its within what can be accommodated, well we will do that but if it’s not we will explain to them why it cannot be done.”