Don’t Harass Us – CLOGSAG
CLOGSAG has sent a stern warning to the government to cease the harassment of its members, insisting that they would not be coerced into calling off the strike they started on Monday October 14.
According to the Greater Accra CLOGSAG executives, they persistently receive complaints from members in the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that some Ministers and government appointees have been threatening their members for joining the industrial action.
They also accused the National Labour Commission (NLA) leadership of inciting the public against them when they (NLA) knew that what they (CLOGSAG) were doing was within the law.
At a news conference by Greater Accra CLOGSAG, Samuel Nii Clottey Collison, the regional secretary reiterated the association’s stance that the over 43,000 members nationwide would not call off the action if their demand for what they called ‘top up’ or ‘premium’ was not met by the government through the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC).
Earl Ankrah, Public Relations Officer of FWSC has already dismissed CLOGSAG’s claim and said the association rather refused to attend a meeting that was supposed to look into the issue.
He said the ‘top up’ allowance which is a key demand of CLOGSAG did not exist in law as far as the FWSC as a mediator was concerned.
‘We have made it clear to them that we are not negotiating anything. By law if you are not negotiating anything you do not go for arbitration.’
Currently, the strike is in its fourth day and it seems to be making impact as the Ministries area, regarded as the hub of government business, is being deserted by the day.
Already, many MDA’s including the Registrar-General’s Department, Births and Deaths Registry and the Accountant-General’s Department as well as the Passport Office have all closed their offices and it appears the ministries are following suit.
Even though some of the members of CLOGSAG at the various MDAs were seen at post, they claimed they were not working.
Flanked by Christian Fiafe and Albert Oku at the news conference, Mr. Collison said he was putting on record that the ‘top up’ issue had been lingering since the migration of staff unto the Single Spine Salary Structure in September 2001.
According to Mr. Collison, when the dispute arose, CLOGSAG promptly submitted itself for arbitration by following laid down procedures under the Labour Law but the FWSC per its letter of July 19, 2013, allegedly refused to submit to the process.
‘Again, in its letter dated 10 th September, 2013, FWSC formally informed the NLC of its decision to withdraw the complaint from the NLC although the FWSC was not the complainant. After the withdrawal by the FWSC, it was evident that nothing was left before the NLC which it could validly purport to refer to arbitration.’
He said that the notice they served before the commencement of the strike was even beyond the seven days stipulated under the law saying ‘CLOGSAG has noticed that the NLC and the FWSC have been granting interviews in the media giving false impression that the strike was improper or illegal because there is a valid voluntary arbitration pending between the parties.’
The NLC Factor
He said that it was unclear to CLOGSAG by whose bidding the acting Executive Secretary of NLC was granting interviews, saying, ‘Considering how false and legally untenable the pronouncements of the acting Executive Secretary of the NLC are in the media, it ought seriously to have dawned on her that such pronouncements seriously compromise the neutrality of the NLC.
‘It is CLOGSAG’s expectation and demand that when parties have taken steps in strict compliance of the law, then they have a right to expect that the NLC will also demonstrate its respect for the law and not allow itself to be used by whosoever to give the impression that it is taking sides in a matter n dispute before it in the interest of other parties.’
They said that ‘it is the expectation and demand of CLOGSAG that the NLC will desist from its apparent effort to rally public opinion against the association in order to deflate or frustrate our declared strike action.’
By William Yaw Owusu
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