Public sector workers are to enjoy a 40 per cent increment in categories Two and Three allowances, in addition to a 12 per cent increase in base pay, beginning next year.
The agreement was arrived at a meeting of the Public Services Joint Standing Negotiating Committee (PSJNC), which comprises organised labour, the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC), the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations and the Ministry of Finance.
The Secretary General of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Dr Anthony Yaw Baah, announced this at the 12th quadrennial delegates conference of the Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU) of the TUC in Kumasi on Monday [September 3, 2019].
He said although the 11 per cent increase in the minimum wage was not enough, under the circumstances, it was the best bargain the union could get for workers.
He said if the government’s projection of lowering inflation to eight per cent by 2020 was achieved, “it will be the first time in 20 years that we are getting a four percentage point increase in salary over inflation and that is something we should all be happy about”.
Dr Baah, therefore, called on all to work hard to ensure that the inflation projection for next year was achieved.
He commended TEWU for its conference, which opened in Kumasi last Wednesday on the theme: “60 years of TEWU’s contribution to the development of equitable, inclusive and quality education delivery in Ghana”.
He underscored the important role members of the union played in the development of the country and said without them, there would be no effective teaching and learning in schools in the country.
The outgoing Chairman of TEWU, Mr Peter Koku Lumor, warned of a possible strike if the conditions of service of non-teaching staff were not addressed by September 4, 2019, as contained in the union’s earlier press release.
He said all the reforms and interventions within the educational sector had, over the years, only addressed the concerns of teachers, leaving out non-teaching staff who, he said, also played critical roles in the sector.
He said the introduction of the double-track system had put more pressure on non-teaching staff, who worked all the time, unlike teachers.
The acting General Secretary of TEWU, Mr Mark Dankyira Korankye, called on the government to, as a matter of urgency, “recruit more non-teaching staff to lessen the burden on the current staff”.
The introduction of the free senior high school (SHS) policy, coupled with some reforms in the educational sector, had led to increase in enrolment over the years, he said, adding: “These increased numbers have brought with them increased workload on members of TEWU, without the necessary compensation. What is even more worrying is that, as if non-teaching staff do not matter, all discussions and interventions are towards teachers. It must be noted that without non-teaching staff, the wheel of these policies will grind to a halt.”
The Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Mr Bright Wireko Brobbey, appealed to the unions to involve the ministry in their negotiations with their respective sector ministries to enable the ministry to have an idea of their demands and the depth of such negotiations.
He said more often, the Labour Ministry was the last resort for unions when negotiations hit a rock, and expressed the belief that if the ministry was engaged from onset, it could facilitate the process.
Mr Brobbey observed that for the past couple of years, the labour front had been relatively stable and gave an assurance that the government would continue to engage labour unions to sustain the harmony.