The Public Services Workers Union (PSWU) of the Ghana Trade Union Congress (GTUC) has urged government to give prominence to issues relating to public sector workers in order to ensure efficiency within the public services.
According to the re-elected General Secretary of PSWU, Abraham Tetteh Dail Okine, government's ability to fast-track issues brought on the table by public sector workers would help improve the efficiency of the sector so as to accelerate development.
Speaking in an interview with CITY & BUSINESS GUIDE on a number of issues, Mr. Okine also advised public sector workers to work hard to demonstrate their presence in whatever organization they work for.
“I believe that hard work is key to success and therefore if we have an efficient public service, the country will progress quickly.”
He said the union would only be involved in programmes of government that would better the lot of workers.
With regard to having any reservation about the Fair Wages Commission, Mr. Okine explained that his outfit supports the initiative but would monitor its implementation when it kick-starts.
A law was passed in March this year by Parliament on the Fair Wages Commission aimed at ensuring equal pay for equal work and eliminating ad hoc negotiations for adjustments of wages and salaries.
Though a single pay spine would be implemented to cover all positions in the public sector, to make it easier to perform job evaluations and determine the relative worth of every public sector position, it is believed that government is taking steps to appoint members of the commission.
Mr. Okine says as much as the PSWU welcomes the Fair Wages Commission, it should not be an attempt by government to take over the right of workers to bargaining, which is enshrined in the International Labour Organisation (ILO) convention .
On how to address challenges facing the PSWU, Mr. Okine was quick to say that the union would acquire collective agreements for its members.
“During the past year, we had 40 collective bargaining agreements locked up with government but as at today all have been released by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.”
In 2008, according to Mr. Okine, the PSWU would look at the public sector reform programme in order to ensure that the retrenchment and redundancy programmes that the reform would bring along do not affect its members much.
He advised members to take advantage of the worker education facility being put in place by the PSWU at Tema and Sunyani to advance their studies.
The union recently constructed a 5-storey building which has a 70-room capacity hostel and an auditorium that can accommodate 500 people. It also has a 30-room apartment.
The newly elected executives are Georgina Opoku Amankwaah, National Chairperson; J.N. Owuo, National Vice Chairperson; and Sister Cecilia Bawaana Naab; National Vice Chairperson (Women).
Others are Santos Beyogleh and Fati Seidu Tambro, both National Trustees.
By Charles Nixon Yeboah