We need dialogue, not industrial instability – Prez

The President, Mr John Dramani Mahama, has asked organised labour to adopt more dialogue to address their differences with the government on the industrial front.

Opening the second Presidential Forum on the implementation of the Single Spine Pay Policy (SSPP) in Takoradi yesterday, Mr Mahama said: “We cannot talk about increased productivity if we are faced with industrial instability”.

The two-day forum, on the theme, “Sustaining the Single Spine Pay Policy,” sought to review the implementation of the SSPP with special focus on the recommendations from the Ho Forum, and to agree on the strategies for the implementation of the second phase of the SSPP, which would focus on the performance/productivity in the public sector.

He said the challenge of modern labour organisations was job creation and explained that the previous confrontational attitude between employers and labour was now giving way to partnership that promoted productivity and the creation of more jobs.

“The labour leader that is doing well is the one that is able to create more jobs and not one that is able to declare more strikes,” the President said. He warned that leaders of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) who were not performing would be sacked.

“Leadership of state-owned enteprises is not life-time employment,” he said, stressing that non-performing leaders would have to give way to those who were ready to improve productivity.

Payroll

On payroll, President Mahama said the cleaning of the payroll system was continuing, adding that “we have been able to eliminate many of the ghosts from the payroll and we are doing everything possible to enhance the integrity of the payroll system.”

The government, he said, was also working to address corruption in the public service, adding that all persons against whom adverse findings had been made in the Auditor-General’s Report would be made to face the full rigours of the law. He said there was the need to create a special prosecutor’s office that would be able to deal with such cases with dispatch.

The President also said the fact that about 99.9 per cent of the SSPP had been implemented spoke volumes of the government’s commitment to ensure the well-being of workers.

He demanded increased productivity from workers to reciprocate the government’s efforts and reiterated that no worker would lose his job under the IMF programme.

Employment Minister

The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Mr Haruna Iddrissu, urged workers to reciprocate increased remuneration with enhanced productivity.

He said Ghana could pride itself on the fact that a common middle ground could be found even in times of difficulties between government and organised labour on issues bordering enhanced conditions of service for workers.

He stressed the need for scientific measurement to determine the extent of workers’ contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The minister said this year, the government intended to begin negotiations on the minimum wage on June 23 and bring discussions to a close by the end of September.

He called for the maintenance of industrial peace in the country, indicating that research fund for lecturers and conditions of service for doctors were being worked on.

Finance Minister

The Minister of Finance, Mr Seth Tekper, dismissed rumours that the government had spent the oil money on the payment of salaries.

Background

The SSPP was introduced to address the challenges associated with salary administration in the public sector, and to enhance the capacity of the government to manage public sector pay more efficiently.

The implementation of the first phase started in 2010 and ended in 2014 with the migration of all public sector workers onto the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS).

The first phase of implementation resulted in gains including a centralised negotiation of public sector pay and a more accurate data on the size of the public sector.

In spite of the gains, there were concerns about the high public sector wage bill with its implications for the sustainability of the SSPP.

Consequently, in August, 2013, a Presidential Forum on the implementation of the SSPP was held in Ho to review the implementation of the SSPP and to build consensus on the implementation of the policy to ensure its sustainability.

Among the recommendations from the Ho Forum was the need to develop and implement complementary policies to enhance effective and sustainable implementation of the SSSP, introduce the banking system into the SSSS, and link pay to work done and productivity, meaning striking public workers would no longer be paid for the number of days they are on strike.

Source : Graphic Online