President John Agyekum Kufuor, has appealed for calm on the labour front in order to create a conducive environment to confront the problems of poverty, ignorance, disease, low productivity and poor conditions of service in the country.
He further urged workers' unions to partner the government to formulate strategies that would sustain enhanced conditions of service in the interest of the ongoing public sector reforms for the benefit of all.
President Kufuor made the call in an address read on his behalf by Mr Abubakr Saddique Boniface, Minister for Manpower, Youth and Employment at the 10th quadrennial delegates congress of the Civil Servant Association (CSA) in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region yesterday.
He pointed out that, several years of economic stagnation, low productivity and an over bloated manpower had combined to frustrate successive governments' attempts to improve the conditions of service of public sector workers.
President Kufuor said the door of the government was always opened for dialogue to resolve industrial disputes and called on the leadership of the CSA to engage in constant dialogue with the government over its concerns with a view to improving the conditions of service for its entire membership.
"For dialogue is certain and a more noble method of resolving such industrial actions. We must grow as a nation. We must use more respectable, honourable and acceptable method of resolving such misunderstanding and not to resort to any such actions as withdrawal of essential services as to create unnecessary hardships and suffering for our people," he told the civil servants.
The President said the issue of general conditions of service, especially with salary structure, housing, transportation, healthcare, human resource development, retirement benefit and long service awards, required urgent attention to ensure decent and comfortable survival during and after working life.
He observed that, the government had taken initiatives to address some of these issues, adding that, government was taken steps to correct distortions in the Ghana Universal Salary Structure (GUSS) and make it a living document for the benefit of all.
The government had also started the construction of affordable houses in the country to ease accommodation problems facing workers in the country. It is also negotiating with the Metro Mass Transit to re-introduce bussing services for civil servants in the country, while efforts were being made to make civil servants acquire their own means of transport.
The President said all categories of civil servants would also undergo training as part of the human resource development programme to enhance their performance. He called for peaceful industrial environment, united front, collective responsibility and patience by all to confront the myriad of problems confronting the nation and public sector workers in particular.
Mr Emmanuel Asamoah Owusu-Ansah, Ashanti Regional Minister, advised civil servants to use tact and decorum rather than confrontation in their demand for higher wages and better conditions of service. He said there was the need for industrial peace at the labour front to attract investors to propel the nation into the middle income status it desired.
Awards were presented to deserving members and past executives of the association for their meritorious services to the growth and development of the association. They received TV sets, Refrigerators, Video decks and citation.