Four percent salary increment, a betrayal of workers

Mr Samuel Alagkora Akolgo, First Vice President of the GRNMAMr Samuel Alagkora Akolgo, First Vice President of the GRNMA

Mr Samuel Alagkora Akolgo, the First Vice President of the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA), says the four per cent salary increment for public sector workers is dishonest and a betrayal.

He said even though Labour was not happy about the base pay negotiation for the Single Spine Salary structure, it could not have rejected it based on certain facts about the economy Government put before Labour at the negotiation table.

He said there were core principles about negotiation, “One of them is negotiating with good faith, and this is clearly captured in Section 97 of the Labour Act of Ghana, which places responsibility on parties in negotiation to negotiate in good faith.”

Mr Akolgo, who is also an Anaesthetist at the Sandema Hospital in the Builsa North Municipality of the Upper East Region, said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency.
He explained that negotiating parties were expected to be honest, faithful, believe in their course and observe reasonable standards or norms of the various organisations that constitute the public sector of the country.

He added that Section 972 also required parties on negotiation to make certain disclosures that were relevant to the negotiation, “We expect that Government will give us accurate economic statistics.

“If Labour gets the accurate economic statistics, then certain demands may be stepped down, but If the Government or the employer fails to make these disclosures, then it is in breach of the laws that govern employment and labour relations in Ghana,” he said.

The GRNMA First Vice President emphasized that Labour Unions were aware that disclosures at negotiations were kept confidential, and Labour could not put such information in the public domain until an official communique was issued.

He said Government catalogued a number of reasons including; the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which made it difficult to increase the base pay of the Single Spine beyond four per cent for 2021 and seven per cent for 2022.

Mr Akolgo said after Labour agreed to the challenges faced by Government, “Days after the negotiation was concluded, we started seeing letters purported to be salaries of the three Arms of Government.

“The ones who understand the situation of the economy and manage it think the worker who struggles daily to contribute to the development of the economy doesn’t deserve better salary.”

He said if the purported salary increment of beyond 50 per cent for the three Arms of Government was actually true, “It is a clear betrayal to the Labour Unions.

“I will use this opportunity to advise organised labour that in future negotiations, they should demand specific information, on inflation, the state of the economy, every nitty-gritty of the economy and based on that, they will be able to get a better deal for workers.”

On the salaries and allowances paid to First and Second Ladies, the GRNMA First Vice President said “These amounts that were paid to the First and Second Ladies cannot do anything to public sector workers, but the intention is what people are worried about.

“If you take 10 years of the amount paid to the Ladies, it will not increase public sector workers salary up to even one per cent, but when Government pleads with workers to accept its offer because of COVID-19, so together we improve the economy and then turns around to do the contrary, it is a betrayal on the part of Government.”