Business News of 2014-04-07

TUC resolves to kick against increased wage freeze policy

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has reiterated its resolve to kick against any government policy to freeze wage increases in the face of worsening economic conditions.

Secretary General of the TUC, Kofi Asamoah told Joy News' Jefferson Sackey that while the Congress appreciates the economic difficulty and government's attempt to revive it, it would not accept increase wage freeze as the best option. Government has hinted of a possible freeze in wage increases as part of measures to curtail the ballooning budget deficit.

In a recent statement on the state of the economy and plans to revive it, the Finance Minister Seth Terkper told Members of Parliament the plans by government to rationalize the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS). The plan is part of a wider reform to keep public sector salaries within acceptable range.

Government has said the SSSS takes 70 per cent of government revenue, an amount government believes is unsustainable and therefore, the need to reduce expenditure on wages.

But the TUC, in a statement said government's plans to freeze salary increases are insensitive to the plight of Ghanaians.

"We want to draw attention to the fact that over the period, in government's attempt to halt the economic decline has brought about some measures. Measures including the removal of subsidies from fuel and utilities, the increase of VAT from 15 to 17.5, which has led to ever increasing inflation and also the fact that the national currency has seen some depreciation over the period," Kofi Asamoah later told Joy News.

He said the cumulative effect of all these policies have brought about increased hardships to Ghanaian workers. "Putting all these measures together at a ago and asking that wages and salaries should remain the same is [unacceptable]," he stated.

Kofi Asamoah said the wage freeze announcement by the Minister on the Floor of Parliament was inconsistent with discussions that had gone on with stakeholders. "Inflation is 14 per cent and you say salary should remain the same. In the mist of all these, we can't talk about wage freeze", he noted.

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