Reasonable unions focus on productivity, not just wages – Kpessah Whyte

Presidential Staffer, Dr. Michael Kpessah Whyte has described as unfortunate demands by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) for an immediate increase in the national minimum wage without doing much to improve productivity.  

According to him, despite the several demands on government, the TUC does not have “a well researched and coherent” alternative policy to match the call for pay rise with the required productivity.

The TUC has issued a four-day ultimatum for government to increase the minimum wage or face its wrath. The Union says it will advise itself if negotiations on the increment of the minimum wage are not concluded before May 1.

But speaking on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM, Monday, Dr. Kpessah Whyte described the timing of the threat as “unfortunate” since negotiations over the minimum wage are already ongoing.

“When negotiations are ongoing, you don’t go about issuing threats,” Dr. Kpessah Whyte said.  

He said, “What is has happened in our context with respect to TUC in the last several years, anytime one hears of them really it’s about demand, demand [and[ demand.

“This is not what unions are about,” he surmised.
“Unions see themselves as part and parcel of the larger economy…So reasonable unions and union leadership tend to focus on how to help to improve the economy so that it will eventually, positively impact the welfare of workers”.

Contributing to the discussion, labour expert Austin Gamey stated that getting productivity to match wages is the responsibility of the employer and not the employee as the presidential staffer sought to suggest in his submission.

According to the former deputy Employment Minister; “they [employers] must formulate policies, plans and programmes to ensure that people are given their targets and to execute them”.

“It is not for the TUC to dictate to government how they should ensure that work is done and done properly. It is not for the TUC to do that,” Mr. Gamey emphasised.

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