THE TRADES UNION Congress (TUC) has commended government's efforts towards job creation for the youth, particularly the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP).
“We would like to express our sincere appreciation to government for its efforts towards job creation for the youth. We are aware of the challenges facing the programme particularly in regard to financing. But we are confident that with this determination we will succeed,” said Kofi Asamoah, Acting Secretary-General of the TUC.
Mr. Asamoah made the revelation at the Public Services International Africa and Arab Regional Executive Committee (AFREC) meeting recently held in Accra.
AFREC is the executive arm of the affiliated unions of Public Services International (PSI) and meets once a year to make decisions and recommendations to the PSI Executive Board within the framework of PSI Programme of Action for the period 2008 to 2012 within the needs and aspirations of the various unions concerned.
Mr. Asamoah noted that “currently, in Ghana, over 250,000 young people are ready to participate in the labour market every year.
The private formal sector has a very limited capacity to generate jobs for the teeming youth.
“Government had boldly stepped in to attempt to fill the gap. To this end government launched the National Youth Employment Programme in 2006. Since then, over 100,000 young men and women have been employed under the programme.”
According the Acting Secretary-General, through prudent efforts from government the poverty incidence in Ghana has reduced drastically from 40% from 1991/92 to 8% in 2006.
He noted that despite the remarkable achievement, there was still a long way to go as salaries continued to be low.
Mr. Asamoah lamented the large number of workers in Ghana who were still outside the trade union movement, many of whom face challenges of job and income insecurity.
“A tiny fraction of the Ghanaian workforce is covered by the national social security scheme. Some workers in the private sector continue to face delays in the payment of their salaries in some cases for many months,” he said.
The Minister of Manpower, Youth and Employment, Nana Akomea noted that the citing of the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) was to deal with all issues pertaining to public sector salaries and related benefits.
He said as part of the reforms, all public sector jobs were being evaluated to determine their relative values and that salaries would then be attached to each of the jobs on the basis of the principle of equal pay for work of equal value.
According to Nana Akomea, the reform had reached a crucial stage where a single spine pay structure was being designed for the entire public service.
For his part, the Secretary-General of PSI, Peter Waldorff stated that the meeting in Accra was as a result of the conflict in Kenya which necessitated the shifting of the venue to Accra.
He said the meeting would concentrate on efforts to bring the priorities decided by the PSI Congress last year into an African translation.
Chairman of the National Coordinating Committee (PSI Ghana Affiliates) mentioned that the local NCC was constituted by eight dynamic worker organisations such as Public Services Workers' Union (PSWU), Teachers and Educational Workers' Union (TEWU), Public Utility Workers Union and Local Government Workers Union.
The rest were Health Services Workers Union, Ghana Registered Nurses Union, Civil Servants Association and the Judicial Service Staff Association.
By Wisdom Peter Awuku