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Opinions of Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Columnist: Quaye, Stephen A.

Give And Take Salary Increment

From: Stephen A. Quaye, Toronto-Canada.

My father use to tell me how life was worth living in the early 1950’s through to the early 1970’s where after the age of 18 years one could find a job, earn good pay to live an independent lifestyle.

He was fond of telling me stories of work and happiness where one works in happiness because there were employment opportunities all over the country, got paid immediately the month is over which made people eager to work because of the assurance of getting paid immediately pay day was here.

Not just getting paid on pay day alone that made them work in happiness, but according to him, their wages and salaries were much enough to carry them through discharging of their various responsibilities successfully such as, paying their rents, utilities, transportation to and from work, children school fees, food, clothing and miscellaneous as well as save a handsome amount of it for future use.

There were no hullabaloos often between workers unions and government in demanding for salary increment before they were satisfied, no office intimidations, no office sexual harassments as we see now and workers were punctual to work as well as very committed to work.

But now one can not even talk about work and happiness as someone will ask you what the happiness in work is today? Today workers have to fight with their employers before they are paid their wages or salaries for the month.
Others even go to the extent of harming their employers physically before they are paid for the services they have rendered for a pay as it happened between one Osei and his employer at Tema.

Look at what is happening at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, the nation’s premier hospital where workers are threatening to go on a strike because their salary arrears have not been paid to them for the past six months. Will they be happy to work?

Last month, fuel prices were increased with out increasing wages and salaries of civil servants which created a big problem in the country. There was hue and cry at every corner as almost every individual complained about it.

Why? Prices of food stuffs shot up immediately, newspaper cover prices shot up immediately. Commercial drivers especially errand taxi drivers dictated fares any how which made life very difficult for everybody.

What was so funny was how tenants tried to dodge their landlords every morning and evening knowing they were going to increase rent and yes landlords increased rent abnormally with the excuse that fuel prices have been increased so rent must also go up.

As if the president not ready to receive more flak, came out with an instruction to the controller and accountant general to pay government workers on the 15 of January with the explanation that they might be cash strapped after the Christmas festivities.

That did not solve the problem since there are more workers in private sector than government sector therefore more people were complaining still of the problem.

Again knowing definitely come May Day workers are going to wear red bands and demand for more salary increment he has come out with the promise of increasing workers salaries.

Well that is welcome news but what other civil servants are asking is whether that promise is give and take increment or not?

Yes but they have to ask because every human activity in the country is determined by prices of fuel. Meanwhile if you are going to increase fuel prices and you increase salaries of workers is it not giving them money and taking back the same money through payment of huge fares, fees and prices of commodities that the fuel prices will affect?

It was so sad for me to observe during my vacation that certain workers have to credit food and other items to make a living because their wages and salaries have not been paid them close to three months with others going over six months.

How can such workers do proper budgeting to cater for their families and save some of the money for their future lives? When workers are satisfied with good pay they do not make noise but when cheated they descend on government.

After all why do people work? To make money and live a responsible life so they do not need this give and take salary increment. Proper programme by government to ensure that workers wages and salaries do not get in arrears can be far welcomed than increasing salaries when increasing fuel prices at the same.

It is give and take tactics and no one needs it.