Although the commission said it shared in the plight of agitating workers who had been demanding for improved remunerations, it said its hands were “tied” and it could do little about their requests.
The Government Hospital Pharmacists Association (GHOSPA) and Colleges of Education Teachers Association of Ghana (CETAG) have been on strike for various reasons related to the implementation of the Single Spine Pay Policy.
The latest to join the pharmacists and teachers for improved working conditions are workers of the Electoral Commission (EC).
They are requesting for a 50 per cent of their salary as allowance for their inability to engage in social and political activities as staff of a neutral organisation.
They are asking the FWSC to meet their demands so that the December 7 elections would not be affected.
But speaking in an interview with The Ghanaian Times in Accra yesterday, Public Relations Officer of the FWSC, Earl Ankrah, said “the commission does not consider the demands of the workers as a pressure”.
Focusing on the GHOSPA, Mr. Ankrah said the pharmacists did not follow due process in laying down their tools making it difficult for the commission to negotiate with them.
According to him, members of GHOSPA were already enjoying the Interim Market Premium but were comparing their due to other health sector workers, a situation he described as “unfortunate and unfair to the commission.”
Mr. Ankrah thinks the pharmacists are holding the country to ransom, because as essential service providers under the labour laws of the country, they are barred from embarking on strike.
Concerning the demands of the EC staff, he stated: “There is nothing called unsociable allowance. It has been consolidated and abolished. We have absorbed all into the basic salary of the workers”.
The Single Spine Pay Policy, he said, was politics-free and that the commission’s staff members were already enjoying what they are demanding for.
He said bending to the demands of the EC officials would open the floodgate for other category of workers to demand for same, after allowances had been agreed upon at a Public Services Joint Standing Negotiating Committee with all the labour unions.
On teachers of the 38 Colleges of Education across the country, he said the commission had done all it was expected to do in meeting their demands.
He explained that the teachers had been enrolled onto the pay policy, but what was left was the implementation of their migration to a tertiary status, which was to be done by ministries responsible for that process.
Mr. Ankrah admonished all public sector workers to act within the law with regards to grievances, assuring that the FWSC, in collaboration with other stakeholders, was ready to give them a listening ear.
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of the Commission, Mr. George Smith Graham, has hinted that it will not introduce new allowances for public sector workers.
“We will not entertain the introduction of new allowances into the system, because it has taken us several years to make sure we get to this stage where we abolish the multiplicity of allowances that existed in the public service,” Mr. Graham told Accra-based Citi Fm.
On the other hand, the EC says the demand by their workers will not affect its calendar for the upcoming polls.
Head of Communications at the EC, Mr. Eric Kofi Ddzakpasu speaking on “ASK THE EC”, a current affairs programme on GTV, on Wednesday, said the workers were focused and committed to discharging their duties, regardless of the demand they were making.
By Julius Yao Petetsi