Enoch Teye Mensah, outgoing Minister of Employment & Social Welfare, says government is committed to ensuring that employers implement the new minimum wage of GH¢4.48 announced by the National Tripartite Committee on Wednesday. The new wage, a 20 percent increase over the current minimum wage of GH¢3.73, formed part of measures employed by government to reduce the burden of workers in the wake current economic hardships.
The new wage took effect on Thursday, February 9, 2012.
Commenting on the development at a press conference in Accra recently, Hon Mensah, now Minister of Water Resources, Works & Housing, said the National Tripartite Committee, which is made up of government representatives, organised labour and employees, agreed that the minimum wage should be free from tax.
Alex Akurugu, a labourer in the informal sector, told this paper that anytime there is an increase in the minimum wage, it does not reflect in his wage.
Kofi Asamoah, Secretary-General of TUC, on Wednesday told CITY & BUSINESS GUIDE that representatives of the TUC considered the upward revision of the minimum wage of workers at a meeting.
He was reacting to sentiments shared by some workers that the GTUC had stooped low in acceding to the 20 percent restoration of the 15 percent fuel price subsidy that was removed last year.
According to him, subsidies in fuel pricing constituted an important mechanism with which the State directly mitigated the effects of petroleum price increases on Ghanaians, most of whom earned very low income or had none at all.
'People do not understand what we are doing. We are only talking about a principle. You see, we never meant that the whole 15 percent fuel price subsidy should be restored.'
Ghanaian workers recently have expressed disappointment in the leadership of the Ghana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) for allowing government to coax it into settling for a meagre 3 percent of the 15 percent fuel price subsidies that the latter scrapped off entirely in December last year.
Some workers in the informal sector have stated that the increase in the minimum wage will not benefit them instantly, adding that it is just a trick by government to gag workers.
'Workers in the formal sector are few compared to those of us in the informal sector. If government increases the minimum wage of its employees, why should somebody like me be happy over that? I don't work for government and so my employers decide to give me whatever they want. And I have no choice than to oblige,' Isaac Apooba of Teshie retorted.
By Samuel Boadi