The Single Spine Issue
It appears that the good intention of the Government to clear the distortions in the salary structure of public and civil servants is being taken to another level. There is no doubt that over the years, salary inequities and distortions in the public and civil services have posed perennial challenges to successive governments.
The public and civil services are areas that cannot attract and retain qualified personnel who can further the goals of bolstering service delivery and value for money. At the current level of remuneration, the public and civil services are losing highly productive and qualified employees.
The only way out, therefore, is to restructure their salaries and make the public and civil services more attractive to highly qualified and experienced professionals. This can be done through better wages and good conditions of service.
It is on record that successive governments from the late 1960s have instituted various actions to reform the public service for improved service delivery as well as for improvement on the conditions of service of the public service. We have had the Mills Odoi Commission, Issifu Ali Committee, Azu Crabbe Commission, The National Committee for Wage and Salary Rationalisation and the Gyampoh Salary Commission.
The introduction of the Ghana Universal Salary Structure (GUSS) in 1999 was the more recent attempt and the first comprehensive pay reform in the country to address salary inequities within the public service.
Since the GUSS could not achieve its objectives of universality, the Government came up with the Single Spine Pay Policy (SSPP) to tackle the problem of pay issues headlong and to bring in equity and fairness in salary administration.
A lot of work has gone on. A white paper issued by the Government expresses commitment to reviewing and streamlining public sector wages and salaries so as to increase productivity, pay decent wages and ensure equity in the public sector pay.
The Government came out clearly stating that the first six months of the implementation process would be used to address some technical flaws so as to ensure that the SSPP does not re-introduce inequities, which it was designed to address.
It is, therefore, unfortunate that some stakeholders are not happy with the level of work of the Fair Wages Commission, set up to implement the new pay policy. If the new policy is not implemented, how could one address the challenges and other problems associated with it?
The Graphic Business strongly believes that boycotting meetings and making wild demands will never solve the problem of implementation, but rather will aggravate the issue. Issues of concerns must be brought to the negotiating table in a more professional manner.
The paper, therefore, calls on all stakeholders to have faith in the Government so that all can work towards a common purpose by creating a fair and equitable salary structure for our brothers and sisters in the public and civil services. Boycotts, protests and power play are not the ingredients for attaining fair wages.