General News Mon, 30 Jan 2006

IRS staffs embark on strike

Accra, Jan. 30, GNA - The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu would meet striking workers of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) who downed their tools on Monday to demand the release of a government report on a resolution passed by the unionised staff in June 2005 declaring no confidence in their Management.

Mr Wise Quarco, President of the Senior Staff Association, told the Ghana News Agency that the Minister had stepped in and the two sides would meet on Tuesday to see the way forward.

"In the meantime, the strike continues," he said.

Mr Quarco said the main trust of their action was that the workers had passed a vote of no confidence in the Management and requested that the Government amended the Retention Law, Act 628.

"We are aware that they cannot meet all our demands but at least we expect that whatever report they have would be released to satisfy us." He said they were given the executive summary of the report, but not the full report. Even with the executive summary, they are not happy with some portions.

Hundreds of placard bearing workers wearing red bands, some of who were drumming and singing, besieged the IRS Head Office at the Ministries in Accra as the strike began.

Some of the placards read: "Retention Law (Act 628) must be amended immediately"; "D. C. (Deputy Commissioner) Administration should go immediately"; "We want substantive Commissioner now"; "Ghost names must be removed from the IRS pay roll immediately" and "Mr President, we can double revenue collection if and only if our needs are met." There was no Management member at the IRS Headquarters when GNA went there.

Mr Quarco said the Union Executive was pursuing the report at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning with the hope of ending the stalemate.

He said the workers were expecting the executive summary of the report, which they hoped, would increase their rent allowance to 20 per cent.

The workers were also expecting an action on the financial administration of the Service and an increase of the retention money from 2.5 per cent to four per cent or five per cent. Some of the workers the GNA spoke to; complained about lack of logistics to facilitate their work.

They also alleged that their payroll had been over-bloated beyond the estimated 2,000 staff strength.

Source: GNA