A forum on the management and handling of issues pertaining to industrial disputes in the Public Service has been organised by the National Labour Commission (NLC) in Accra.
The forum gave social partners and labour unions the opportunity to discuss issues relating to the implementation of the Single Spine Pay Policy (SSPP).
Dr Bernice Welbeck, the Acting Executive Secretary of the NLC, said the Commission had identified and consolidated such issues to be discussed to enable the participants understand positive ways to manage and address labour issues, especially in this election year.
She said the forum was part of a strategy being implemented by the NLC to ensure that social partners in the employment relationship develop the attitude of prevention instead of resolution.
“This means, in the coming years the NLC’s focus will be to identify sector-specific issues and plan programmes to assist in addressing them,” she noted.
According to Dr Welbeck, since the implementation of the SSPP, a number of complaints had been received, especially from the Health and Education sectors, which were continuously recording high number of disputes each year.
“Our records show that every year, the NLC records an average of seven disputes from organised workers groups in the Public Service either by way of complaints, threats of industrial action or withdrawal of services,” he said.
Mr Edward Briku-Boadu, the Chairman of the NLC, said, with the implementation of the Policy the NLC had received a number of complaints filed by public sector unions and associations as well as recorded for a number of labour agitations from the public service ranging from the issue of placement of allowances.
He indicated that while the NLC acknowledged the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) as the governmental agency charged with the implementation of the Policy, it was unclear as to who was in charge of managing the employment relationship at the sector level.
Mr Briku Boadu said there seemed to be lack of proper coordination between the management of the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies and the FWSC which is a major challenge to the effective resolution of disputes arising out of the implementation of the policy.
The lack of clarity was one of the major sources of disputes, he said, adding that if there was effective communication between the sectors involved, the Agencies and the FWSC, the disputes would have been minimised if not completely avoided.