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Budget silent on redressing pay inequities - TUC

Mon, 29 Nov 2021 Source: business24.com.gh

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The Trades Union Congress (TUC) says the 2022 budget failed to address its concerns on salary and wage disparities in the public sector and has therefore called on government to give the needed attention to the issue.

At a pre-budget forum in July, the union had demanded a review of the single spine salary structure (SSSS), which it described as both unfair and unsustainable in its current form, to help tackle wage disparities in the public sector.

“We drew attention to the low pay on the single spine salary structure, specifically the pay inequities between workers on the SSSS, [workers of] state-owned enterprises, and Article 71 [officials]. But next year’s budget had no word on the possible review of the policy and nothing on bridging the growing pay gap in the public sector,” Dr. Kwabena Nyarko Otoo, Director of the TUC’s Labour Research and Policy Institute (LRPI), said in a presentation at a post-budget forum in Accra.

“In 2021 workers on the SSSS had a four percent salary increment, whilst some state-owned enterprises had 15-20 percent or even higher, even though they are already earning higher salaries [and] even though as a group, the SOEs are recording unprecedented losses,” he argued further.

Between 2015 and 2019, SOEs have consistently posted negative operating margins, averaging around 10 percent. In 2019, the SOEs recorded total losses of GH¢586.4m compared to GH¢188m in 2018, a more than threefold increase in losses in a 12-month period, according to TUC.

In sharp contrast to the dismal pay structure for majority of public officers, TUC said there are other pay structures in the public sector that offer even more attractive salaries, with chief executives of some state-owned enterprises, for instance, earning between GH¢70,000 and GH¢100,000—twice to three times the salary of the President—per month.

“There is the urgent need for evaluation of SOE performance and to cap the pay of CEOs in the SOEs. There is the need to bridge the gap between single spine office holders, Article 71 office holders, and salaries in the SOEs,” Dr. Otoo said.

The TUC is also worried about the rising cost of living, including the soaring price of fuel, and demanded the payment of a cost-of-living allowance (COLA) to cushion public sector workers against economic hardships in 2022.

“Cost of living remains high for most Ghanaians. What can be done? Government must increase [the] income tax-free threshold to give some relief to workers and recalibrate the revenues proposed for 2022 to slow the pace of fiscal adjustment and reduce hardships,” the union proposed.

The one-day forum was organised by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) in collaboration with TUC to seek members’ concerns and comments on the 2022 budget to inform their final position and subsequent actions.

Source: business24.com.gh
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