The National Labour Commission (NLC) and the leadership of Organised Labour yesterday held a forum to discuss ways to reduce industrial strikes in the country, ahead of the general elections.
It was organised against the background of industrial strikes in the public sector, following the implementation challenges with the Single Spine Pay Policy to address issues of low pay, inequalities in pay structure and poor condition of service.
Issues of job revaluation and regarding placement, market premium conversion differences, payment of incremental credit payment allowances, book and research allowances, documented conditions of services, payment of outstanding vehicle and maintenance allowances , review of collective agreement payment of transfer grants promotions and ban on recruitment were tabled for discussion.
The Acting Executive Director of NLC, Dr Berwick Welbeck, said since the implementation of the SSPP, the commission recorded an average of seven disputes from organised workers groups in the public sector, either by way of complaints, threats of industrial action or withdrawal of services.
According to her, the health and education sectors “continuously record high number of disputes each year.”
She said the NLC considered it appropriate to intervene, at the sector level, to help the parties chart a common understanding on how to effectively promote labour management co-operation.
Dr Welbeck said the forum was a strategy being implemented by the commission to ensure that as much as possible, social partners in the employment relationship developed the attitude of prevention instead of resolution.
The Acting Executive Director added that in the coming years, the commission’s focus would be to identify sector- specific issues and plan programmes to address them.
The Chairman of the commission, Edward Briku-Boadu, said there seemed to be lack of proper co-ordination between management of the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies and the Fair Wages and Salary Commission (FWSC).
That, he said, was a major challenge to the “effective resolution of disputes arising out of the implementation of the policy, the outcome of which is the unending agitations by public service workers.”
The Chief Executive of the FWSC, Dr George Smith-Graham, in responding to the issue that had been the bane of industrial strike in the country, said the commission had engaged a third party technical team to examine and come out with resolution on the outstanding issue of job revaluation and regarding relating to the Ghana Hospital Pharmacy Association.
By Salifu Abdul-Rahaman