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TUC calls for correction of inequalities in public sector pay
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Business News of Thursday, 26 October 2006

Source: GNA

TUC calls for correction of inequalities in public sector pay

Accra, Oct. 26, GNA - The Trades Union Congress (TUC) on Thursday criticised the Government's public sector pay policy and called for a correction of inequalities in the area.

'Clearly, the current public sector pay policy is discriminatory and cannot be sustained,' the TUC said in its input to the Government for the 2007 Budget and financial statement.

"The only way the potential labour unrest can be forestalled is to re-establish pay relativities within the sector by adjusting the pay of those who have suffered discrimination," it said in the document copied to media houses.

It referred specifically to the problems after the adjustments of salaries in the health sector and said it expected Government to re-establish the relativities between health sector workers and their counterparts on the Ghana Universal Salary Structure (GUSS). The TUC's proposals cover employment, public sector salaries and pensions.

The TUC said it expected the Budget to make the necessary provisions to address the pay inequities in the public sector as a short term measure.

=93In the medium term, we expect the Government to facilitate the process of adopting an incomes policy framework to provide the basis for public sector pay determination in a more objective manner.=94 The Labour Movement said it was happy to note that the Government had recognised that discriminatory and selective policies were not the way to deal with the complex salary-related problems in the Public Service.

=93Ghana has implemented many expensive public sector salary reforms, but the reality is that the numerous reforms have failed to address the real issue 96 the low pay in the Public Sector.=94 It noted that the need for realistic pay for Public Servants as a means of improving performance had long been identified but successive governments had been reluctant to implement the right policies. =93Currently, Public Sector pay in Ghana is among the lowest in Africa,=94 it said.

The TUC said the National Tripartite Committee was in the process of determining 93a national living wage=94 and expressed concern about the delay in this work. It, therefore, urged social partners to show commitment to the process.

=93In the short to medium term, we propose that the social partners should adopt an incomes policy framework that will serve as basis for determining pay in both the Public and Private Sectors.=94 The TUC said the ad hoc nature of existing employment policy measures was a reflection of the lack of employment planning, adding =93to achieve the middle income status in 2015, employment should be at the heart of all policies; be they monetary or fiscal.

=93Government blames its failure to do a proper employment planning on the 91lack of reliable employment data'. But the 91paucity of employment data' is a reflection of the neglect of employment issues by successive governments,=94 it said.

The TUC noted that whereas data on inflation was available on monthly basis, one hardly found employment data.

=93Even if they are available, they are usually outdated and cannot be used for economic development planning. This clearly shows that the Government's economic policy is purely monetarist in nature. But without accurate and up-to-date employment data, there can be no planning.=94

The TUC said the Government's expenditure on social services was constrained by limits imposed by the international financial institutions and supported calls on the Government to wean itself off from the International Monetary Fund to enable it to borrow from the international financial market for accelerated development.

It said to achieve the desired accelerated growth for Ghana there was the need for expansion in the public sector and not a reduction. The TUC said at the moment, the formal private sector could not provide enough jobs for the youth adding that studies had shown that out of 230,000 entrants into the labour market every year, the private formal sector was able to employ less than two per cent.

It suggested the expansion of Public Sector employment in areas such as sanitation; provision of potable water; health care; education; policing and administration of justice.

The TUC urged the Government to initiate measures to protect the youth in employment.

The Labour Movement criticised the blanket reduction in corporate tax saying this had cost the Government one trillion cedis in the first six months of this year.

"Given the share of corporate tax in Government revenue, Government should have first ensured that it had expanded the tax net to capture all the informal sector enterprises that are currently not complying with their tax obligations before offering such tax incentives."

On pensions, the TUC urged the Government to facilitate the transition to the proposed new scheme by providing the necessary logistical support for the Committee that would implement the recommendations of the Presidential Commission on Pensions.

"Ghana should be able to take good care of all its senior citizens, who constitute just around six per cent of the total population," it said.

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