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21.03.2008 General News

TUC Commends Govt For Pay Reform Talks

By Clement Atagra - newtimesonline.com

THE Trades Union Congress (TUC), has commended the government for effectively involving it in the processes leading to the implementation of the Public Sector Pay reforms, launched in 2006 by the government.

It said the over-reliance of government on external consultants often without adequate knowledge of the challenges confronting the country’s public sector, has largely resulted in the failures of past reforms.

The acting Secretary General of the TUC, Kofi Asamoah, said this at the opening of the Public Services International (PSI) Africa and Arab Regional Executive Committee (AFREC) meeting in Accra yesterday.

The two-day meeting will discuss efforts being made by AFREC to bring the priorities decided on by the PSI Congress held last year into an African translation.

He said the determination by the government to effectively implement the policy to the benefit of Public Sector workers was re-informed by the fact that it has already got a Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) to deal with all issues pertaining to public sector salaries and related benefits.

Mr Asamoah, however, called on government to hasten the pace of the reforms, noting we acknowledge the fact that government is making efforts to get it right this time.'

He said the union will continue to work with relevant ministries such as Finance and Economic Planning, Manpower, Youth and Employment and the Public Sector Reforms.

On the recent oil find, he appealed to government to involve the TUC in working with the relevant authorities to ensure that the host communities and workers who will be employed in the oil producing and marketing companies get their fair share.

'We will also ensure that they work under safe and healthy conditions and are paid living wages,' he added.

Opening the meeting, the Minister of Manpower, Youth and Employment, Nana Akomea, said government was committed to ensuring that the new pay reforms results in increased productivity in the public sector since salaries are big motivation for workers.

He said the single spine pay structure being developed will ensure that work of equal value benefits from equal pay.

Nana Akomea said care was being taken to ensure fairness and equity and added: 'It is for all of these reasons that we are dealing with the issue in a very comprehensive manner.'

He said with the availability of a tripartite committee, the Labour Act of 2003 and other labour friendly actors, the new policy is not likely to face many problems as the channels for redress are already established.

The PSI World Secretary-General, Peter Waldorff, stated that although the care functions of the PSI are focused on trade union rights, issues such as access of citizens to good drinking water, health care, education and energy are very high on the agenda.

He said the PSI also runs a dedicated campaign on migrant workers’ rights with special focus on women in the health care sector.

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