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CLOGSAG Ends Strike

By Daily Guide

The Civil and Local Government Staff Association, Ghana (CLOGSAG) says it has called off the strike it commenced on Monday, October 14.

A terse statement issued in Accra and signed by Isaac Bampoe Addo, Executive Secretary of CLOGSAG, said the decision to call off the industrial action was taken at an Emergency National Council meeting held at the National Secretariat of CLOGSAG last Tuesday.

The statement said the National Tripartite Committee intervened in the matter and as a result a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that would pave way for amicable settlement of the impasse over the payment of Top Up or Premium to CLOGSAG members was signed.

'We take this opportunity to acknowledge the immense support of the industrial action by the entire CLOGSAG fraternity. We sincerely appreciate your tenacity of purpose, endurance of threats with which you embraced and participated in this all important endeavour,' the statement said.

Possible Showdown
It is unclear what was promised CLOGSAG members but sources say the top up/premium issue was going to be sorted out by the government, a move which has been opposed by the Fair Wages Salaries Commission (FWSC).

The Commission believes that the top up allowance does not exist in law.

Earl Ankrah, Public Relations Officer of FWSC, has already disputed the top up/premium issue, saying 'We have made it clear to them that we are not negotiating anything. By law if you are not negotiating anything, you do not go for arbitration.'

However, after CLOGSAG's Emergency National Council meeting, the members warned that they would not hesitate to withdraw their services again should government renege on its promise.

Background
CLOGSAG embarked on what they called 'legal strike' and vowed not to return to work if their demand for 'Top up' or 'Premium' from the government through the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) was not met.

During the strike, some members of CLOGSAG at the various Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) were seen at post even though they claimed they were not working.

A visit to the Ministries regarded as the hub of government business during the action showed that the daily business at the place had gone down drastically.

The workers hoisted red flags on the buildings to indicate their anger and frustration.

The most affected departments and agencies were the Registrar-General's Department, Births and Deaths Registry, Controller and Accountant General's Department and the Passport Office.

Activities at the Registrar-General's Department and Passport Office dwindled.

The CLOGSAG Secretariat at the Ministries was closed completely.

LGWU Factor
In the ensuing confusion, Local Government Workers Union (LGWU) entered the fray, urging the public not to associate them with Civil and Local Government Staff Association Ghana (CLOGSAG) and also warning their members not to join the strike.

It became a give-and-take affair between LGWU and CLOGSAG over the industrial action and the LGWU even went to the extent of calling for police protection for their members to enable them to go to work since they were being threatened.

Even though they did not mention those threatening their members working in the various MDAs, they said that the precautionary measure was due to the ongoing strike embarked upon by their rival CLOGSAG.

Joe Boahen, General Secretary of LGWU at a news conference on Tuesday said, 'We are taking this opportunity to inform the public about the distinctive identity of the LGWU as the union mandated to organize workers of the Local Government Service Secretariat, Metropolitan, Municipal, District Assemblies and Department.'

He said that there had been 'misrepresentation of CLOGSAG's strike and that no member of LGWU is on strike.'

Mr. Boahen said that since the enactment of the Local Government Service Act 656 (2003), LGWU had been granted representation on the governing council, which is the highest decision-making body to champion the interests of workers in the local government sector.

'It is worthy to note that the General Secretary of LGWU has always been a member of the Local Government Service Council. LGWU was issued with Collective Bargaining Certificate by the Registrar of Trades Unions (Chief Labour Officer) in 2006 after we reapplied.'

'It is therefore logical that Local Government Service Workers best belong to the LGWU than any other association or union.'

Mr. Boahen said that per the Civil Service Law, PNDC L 327, the Civil Servant Association representation on the Civil Service Governing Council was given to them and not the Local Government Service Council.

 By William Yaw Owusu