The Trades Union Congress of Ghana (TUC) has called on the Minister of Finance to stop the praise-singing and “get to serious business of managing the economy.”
According to the TUC, the urgent policy statement on the economy delivered by the Finance Minister, Mr Seth Terkper to Parliament on Tuesday, April 1, 2014, was a clear indication that “does not fully understand the laws, rules and norms governing industrial relations practice in Ghana.’
In a reaction to the Minister’s policy statement, the TUC noted that if he (Seth Terkper) understood the laws governing industrial relations practice in the country, he would not have taken issues of salary negotiation to Parliament since that is the work of the Public Services Joint Standing Negotiation Committee (PSJSNC).
Mr Seth Terkper on Tuesday announced to Parliament that as part of expenditure ralitionalisation measures to save the economy, government was proposing for moratorium on public sector wage increase in 2014. He also noted that government would continue the policy of net freeze on employment into some sectors of the public service.
However, the statement signed by the General Secretary of the TUC, Mr Kofi Asamoah said, it would do whatever it takes to resist any policy which will lead to a freeze on public sector wages in 2014.
It said, “If by taking such issues to Parliament, the Minister was seeking to gain public support for such policies, he has failed miserably because on such issues the public is on the side of workers. We will never allow any government to take away the right of collective bargaining which workers of Ghana earned with the ratification of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions 87 and 98 in 1957 by the Great Leader Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah of blessed memory.”
According to the TUC, any attempts by government to freeze salaries was a clear demonstration that it is totally insensitive to the harsh economic and social conditions the working people of Ghana and their families are facing.
The TUC further challenged government to abandon the International Monetary Fund’s macroeconomic policies and adopt the right social and economic policies that will help the country out of its “crisis.”
“What we need are policies that will take Ghana out of the current situation where over 8 million out of the 26 million Ghanaians find themselves in poverty despite all the natural and human resources endowment in the country, including oil…Instead of seeking to improve the wellbeing of the poor in society, government is rather determined to continue the socially unfriendly policy of complete withdrawal of utility and petroleum subsidies, in accordance with the dictates of the IMF. We wonder why government thinks that it can combine such policies all at once,” the statement said.
The TUC therefore called on the membership of all Organised Labour groups, civil society organisations, students and all Ghanaians to resist any policies which would worsen the current economic conditions of Ghanaians.