TUC’s Ultimatum Is Unfortunate — Kpessah Whyte

WhyteA Presidential Staffer, Dr. Michael Kpessah Whyte, has described as unfortunate the demands by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) for 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 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 were not concluded before May 1.

But Dr. Kpessah Whyte, speaking on Joy FM yesterday, 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 advised.

He said, “What has happened in our context with respect to the TUC in the last several years, any time one hears of them, 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, impact the welfare of workers positively,” he stressed further.

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  targets to execute”.

“It is not for the TUC to dictate to government how it 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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