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22.03.2011 Business & Finance

Single Spine Salary and labor agitations

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March 22, 2011
Ho, March 22, GNA - The labour front promises to be stormy with agitations as the Single Spine Salary (SSS) scheme makes its transition from paper into the pockets of public sector workers.

In the circumstances, concerns of smaller institutions such as the Ghana News Agency, with a little more than 200 workers mostly journalists, risk being brushed aside as flashes in the pan.

However, bigger and vociferous professional groups such as teachers, doctors, nurses, civil servants and university teachers as usual would be treated as “sacred cows” because they have the “macho” muscles to hit hard at the government and serve the media a juicy menu.

But such preferential focus puts the survival and the very essence of the SSS, equity and fairness to all, at risk.

Already perception among other public sector workers is that the government has singled out personnel of the Security Services for “royal treatment” under the SSS thus setting the tempo for the emerging levels of uncompromising agitations.

Indications are that teachers would also be given their “pound of flesh” having bared their teeth at the government in anger at being shortchanged over the SSS.

The question agitating the minds of those public sector workers who have already been put on the SSS minus arrears and category two and three allowances is whether the government would fast track the payment of arrears to the teachers as well as their category two and three allowances in order to enhance their pay packets to appease them?

That would be discriminatory towards the others who are being taken through snail-pace negotiations.

Waiting in the wings are the Ghana Medical Association, the Civil and Local Government Service Staff Association of Ghana who have also served notice that their members would not settle for anything short of a meaty portion of the SSS pie and the University Teachers Association of Ghana who appeared to have kept a tactical silence over the happenings.

The coming weeks and months would therefore be crucial for the government in its ability to manage the agitations in order not to undermine the very tenets of the SSS to appease some sections of the public sector workforce.

But should the government pander to the demands of the bigger sections of the public sector and forget about the smaller groups then those smaller groups (mosquitoes and bed bugs) would be justified to also make their “little noises” in order to draw the government's attention to their frail, though important existence.

Should that happen, then the government would be back-tracking towards the pre-SSS era as it negotiates with labour groups on their individual terms outside the joint negotiation arrangement.

GNA Feature By Wilhelm Gaitu

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