The Local Government Workers' Union (LGWU) of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Ghana, has warned the Civil and Local Government Staff Association (CLOGSAG) that any rush to force the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) to implement the market premium would spell doom for the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) and the Ghanaian economy.
This follows a recent announcement by the leadership of CLOGSAG that the migration of its members onto the SSSS about two years ago had had a negative impact on its members, hence the planned nationwide industrial strike on 14th October, 2013.
According to CLOGSAG, three different committees instituted by the government recommended that a market premium should be paid to compensate the affected persons, but nothing had come out of it.
The warning was issued at the end of a two-day emergency management meeting of the LGWU held in Accra.
To this end, the General Secretary of LGWU of TUC, Mr. Joe Boahen, cautioned employees of the Local Government Service, the Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs) and departments, not to associate themselves with any industrial agitation, including the intended strike by CLOGSAG next week to compel the FWSC to implement the market premium.
"As leaders of the union, we have been working closely with the authorities, especially, the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission, to ensure that the labour survey is conducted to determine which class of employees in any service classification benefits from the market premium," he stated.
Touching on the premium, Mr. Boahen explained; "The market premium is not intended to be a wholesale package for all workers. It is very imperative that a labour survey is conducted as soon as practicable to determine the right occupational groups or service classifications that are qualified to benefit from the market premium."
"As a union, we are very much aware of the implementation challenges of the SSSS which are known to all social partners, and so there is the need for maximum restraint on a critical issue like the market premium, so that it does not undermine the gains made so far in streamlining the benefit packages under the new pay policy," he said.
Mr. Boahen was quick to add: "It is the position of the LGWU that until the labour survey is carried out to determine the beneficiaries, management of the Local Government Service and, especially, the MMDAs, should ensure that their employees remain clam in the wake of the labour agitation and the tension associated with the intended industrial action by CLOGSAG."
He, therefore, advised all members of the LGWU to be wary of any industrial action by any workers' group that they do not belong to.
The leadership of the LGWU also urged all workers groups to critically study the government's White Paper on the guidelines for the determination of the market premium under the Single Spine Pay policy, which was issued in April, 2013. "Through this, we can work together in a concerted effort with FWSC and other social partners to ensure a hitch-free implementation of the Market Premium, rather than rushing to implement it and end up with dire consequences in the labour front and the entire economy."
Mr. Boahen reiterated that all employees of the MMDAs, as well as staff of the Local Government Service, were represented on the Local Government Service Council Board by the Local Government Workers' Union of the TUC.
This has placed the LGWU in a better position to take all necessary measures to serve the interest of local government employees towards effective and efficient service delivery and improved working conditions.