Accra, Oct. 31, GNA - A 20-member Standing Joint Committee for Research Staff Associations (RSA) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) was on Monday inaugurated with the mandate to negotiate for salaries and wages for the two institutions.
The Committee is made up of 16 members from the CSIR and GAEC councils and RSA with four ex-officio members comprising of the heads of the two institutions, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Environment and Science (MES) and an official from the Labour Commission. Inaugurating the committee, Ms Christine Churcher, Minister MES, said for the nation to stop losing its scientists to other countries and private institutions, it was time that the government created the needed working environment for them.
"If science and technology are to be the launching pad for rapid economic development, then it is time we recognized the need to create a conducive environment for the scientist to commit their time and dedication to hard work so that in the next few years Ghana can be transformed into the 'African Tiger,'" she said. Ms Churcher said the maintenance and promotion of industrial harmony and peace in the scientific community could not be overemphasized because of the critical role scientists played in the development of the country.
She said the CSIR and the GAEC remained the major legitimate institutions vested with the mandate not only to search for and develop scientific knowledge and expertise, but also to apply that knowledge for the betterment of the lives of the people in all areas of economic activity.
Mr Edward Osei Nsenkyire, Chief Director, MES, said the institution of the joint committee was long overdue given the recommendations of the Gyampoh Committee's report, which placed the two institutions in line with the universities in terms of salaries and wages.
The Gyampoh Committee set up in 1994 reviewed wages and salaries of public and civil servants and put the two institutions together with the universities as analogous institutions and gave them parity of treatment in terms of salaries, because they recruited their staff from the same pivot of scientific manpower as the universities.
Mr Nsenkyire said the implementation of the Gyampo Committee's report had been characterized by incessant delays in adjustment of salaries and improvement in conditions of service of staff of the two institutions in line with the salaries and conditions of service of the Universities.
He said in 2004 staff of the two institutions were denied what had been given to the universities with effect from January 1, 2004, which included the 15 per cent salary increase and 30 per cent consolidation of the various allowances.
The CSIR and GAEC were offered only 19 per cent salary increase without the 30 per cent consolidation that was rejected on grounds of unjustified inequity, which led to their embarking on industrial action, he said.
Mr Nsenkyire said the industrial action was called off when Cabinet decided to increase the salaries of the CSIR and GAEC by 15 per cent with effect from January 1, 2004 with the issue of the 30 per cent consolidated allowances still receiving government's attention.
He said the RSA of both GAEC and CSIR were of the view that the root cause of the delays in reviews and implementation of changes in salaries and allowances in line with the Universities was the absence of a body to negotiate on their behalf, hence the institution of the joint committee.