CLOGSAG strike to affect 700,000 pockets
About 700,000 civil and public servants risk not being paid at the end of the month if the Civil and Local Government Staff Association of Ghana (CLOGSAG) does not call off its industrial action.
This is because staff of the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department (CAGD), the institution which processes the salaries of workers on the government’s payroll, are part of the strike.
As a result, the processing of pay cheques at the CAGD for more than 700,000 workers on the state payroll has stalled.
Members of CLOGSAG began a nationwide strike last Monday in demand for their unpaid market premium and allowances.
The association, on September 20, 2013, announced its intention to go on strike if government failed to yield to its demands by before October 14.
Situation on the ground
Activities at the various ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) have come to a virtual halt following the strike by CLOGSAG.
However, at some departments and agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Registrar-General’s Department (RGD) and the CAGD, it was business as usual, as staff and clients went in and out.
When contacted the Public Relations Office of the CAGD declined to speak on the issue.
Generally, the Ministries area, the heartbeat of government business, appeared dull, even though fleets of cars had been parked in front of the various MDAs. Interestingly, only a few people moved in and out of the Ministries enclave.
‘I was here to submit my boss’ business registration forms. I had no problem at all. There is no sign that there is even a strike,’ Mr Samuel Antwi told the Daily Graphic on the premises of the RGD.
Almost all the offices of the department were opened.
A source who did not want to be named said he had received a circular on the strike but maintained that everybody was at work.
That was not the case at the ministries of Health, Education and Gender, Children and Social Protection, where red flags were flying and there was only skeletal staff around.
Even though no red flags were flying at the ministries of Transport, Communications, the Interior, Food and Agriculture and Local Government and Rural Development, most of the offices were closed, with little human movement.
When the Daily Graphic visited the National Head Office of CLOGSAG, the various offices were closed.
A female security officer there said most of the national officers did not turn up for work because of the strike.
The situation was different at the Greater Accra office, where Mr Samuel Nii Klottey Collison, the Greater Accra Regional Secretary of the association, told the Daily Graphic that the government had not been tickled by the strike yet.
‘As we speak, the calls we hear are coming not from our employer, the government, but rather the National Labour Commission (NLC). We have moved beyond the NLC,’ he said.
Mr Collison, who wore a big red armband, said the association complied with the tenets of the law and were in voluntary arbitration with the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC).
The FWSC pulled out of voluntary negotiations with CLOGSAG through a letter dated September 10, 2013 which asserted that the association’s complaint had become redundant due to subsequent events relating to the implementation of the Single Spine Pay Policy.
While urging members of the association not to be intimidated by their sector ministers, he called on the sector ministers to leave members of the association alone in order not to disturb industrial harmony.
He accused the government of dragging its feet, since the association had raised red flags over the strike since September 20.
Mr Collison said the members of the association were willing to endure the non-payment of their salaries if the CAGD was closed down ‘until the right thing is done’.
By Seth J. Bokpe/Daily Graphic/Ghana
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