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Politics of Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Source: GNA

President Mahama expresses concern over wages of Ghanaian workers

President John Dramani Mahama on Wednesday stressed an urgent need for the institution of measures to ensure that Ghanaian workers receive the right minimum wage and social security benefit contributions as required by the law.

“We must do something about these things, and the time is now if we adopt the attitude of business as usual, progress will be long in coming and our people will continue to suffer silently for our neglect and lack of sense of urgency,” he said.

President Mahama made the call in a speech read on his behalf by Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, at the opening session of the Ninth Quadrennial Delegate’s Congress of the Ghana Trades Union Congress in Kumasi.

The five-day event is on the theme: "Organizing for Empowerment, Employment Security and Increased Productivity”.

He expressed regret that there were “many lapses in the labour administration and labour inspection functions as a result of power failures to put our money where our mouth is”.

President Mahama said it was important to determine the number of jobs available and unemployment rate in the country and added “Government will work with our development partners to generate such information from the Ghana Statistical Service and the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare”.

President Mahama said more than 99 per cent of public sector workers had been successfully migrated unto the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS), which had resulted in an increase in government wage bill from GH¢2.4 billion before the introduction of the policy to more than GH¢5.6 billion in 2010.

He announced that a draft policy and market premium had been submitted to Cabinet by the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare for consideration.

President Mahama said Cabinet was expected to scrutinize the proposed policy after which guidelines would be issued for the clarification of the meaning of market premium, the calculation of market premium and persons qualified to enjoy the premium.

The President said that the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare had been directed to educate workers on market premium and category two and three allowances and how those premium and allowances were computed.

He asked the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) to expedite action on the performance management aspect of the SSSS as stated in the FWSC Act of 2007, Act 737 and the corresponding government white paper of November 2009.

President Mahama said: “It is my hope that with enhanced salaries and effective performance management, the nation would have a motivated workforce that would increase production and productivity.”

He directed that the due processes leading to the construction of a modern state-of-the-art Labour Office Complex promised by the late President John Evans Atta Mills should be expedited, to house the labour department, factory inspectorate department and FWSC, to serve as a one stop shop of excellent labour administration and management in the country.

President Mahama said: “I intend to cut the sod for work to begin and with your help and support, bring it into operation by 2014.”