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14.01.2006 General News

Trouble Brewing At EC

By Ghanaian Chronicle

The Electoral Commission's programme to conduct a nationwide inspection of political parties offices and strike out the defunct ones will not be successful if the needs of their aggrieved junior staff are not met now.

Chronicle's investigations revealed that junior staff of the commission are warming themselves up for a strike action to demand better conditions of service.

According to EC staff who spoke to the paper, (names withheld) they would have embarked on the strike action last December to put the congresses held by the NPP and NDC on hold, but they were divided over which region should lead the strike action.

They revealed to The Chronicle that they have a collective bargaining agreement for 2004-2006, which was signed by the management of EC, but up till now the conditions in the agreement had not been implemented.

The aggrieved staff contended that the management actually do not seek their welfare, adding that they tell them "if we are not satisfied with our peanut salary, we can leave any time we complain."

It was learnt that the aggrieved workers had not received their salary increment announced by government, as, according to them, their management always told them the TUC was negotiating to get a better salary for them.

They said the senior staff collect ¢1.5 million a month, while they, junior staff, collect ¢400,000 a month.

They claimed that the transfer grants had not been sent yet to some of the district electoral officers, who had been transferred, and for which reason they are still at post.

"Some district officers have been transferred effective September last year after they had been notified in May, the same year. But up till now they have not received their transfer grants, so they are still at post," they said.

They said they suspect that the surplus of the election budget is what the commissioners and other high officials at the commission use to travel outside anytime general elections are over, adding that it is because of the huge sums of money they get from that that is why they refuse to fight for better salaries for junior staff.

With this assertion, they challenged the Commissioners and the TUC to effect their salary increment soon or "they shall stage a nationwide strike."