The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has called on the government to suspend the deregulation policy under which market forces determine the price of fuel in the country.
According to the TUC, the government suspended the Fiscal Responsibility Act, which enjoins it not to create a deficit of more than five per cent in any fiscal year, to be able to spend more to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the economy, it is equally important for the government to suspend the deregulation policy, to help reduce the price of fuel to mitigate the growing hardship on workers.
The Director of the Labour Research and Policy Institute (LRPI) of the TUC, Dr Kwabena Nyarko Otoo, disclosed this in an interview after a forum on the 2021 Mid-Year Budget, and said in this difficult time of COVID-19, it would be appropriate for the government to suspend the deregulation policy to help mitigate the cost of fuel.
The programme organised by the TUC for its leadership to dilate on the 2021 Mid-Year Budget Review, was sponsored by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), a German thing tank and development organisation.
The rising cost of fuel, Dr Nyarko said was bringing untold hardship to workers and worsening their already poor living conditions.
Dr Otoo, who gave a presentation on the 2021 Mid-Year Budget Review, observed that any little adjustment in the price of fuel affected the general price level of goods and services.
The Director of LRPI of TUC further called for a review of the Single Spine Pay Policy as it had failed to address inequities in the pay structure of public sector workers and low salaries paid to workers.
He said government constituted a Committee in 2018 to review the Single Spine Pay Policy, but nothing had been done on the report of the exercise presented to government.
Dr Otoo said some public sector workers had opted out of the Single Spine Pay Policy since it did not help to improve their salary structure and conditions of service.
Earlier in his remarks, Secretary General of the TUC, Dr Yaw Baah urged government to initiate strategies to improve the living conditions of workers.
He said when the conditions of service of workers were improved, it would motivate them to put in their best and thereby increase productivity.
Dr Baah said the government touting low inflation as a means of improving the living conditions of workers was not the best as low inflation did not mean the cost of living was plummeting.
The TUC Secretary General indicated that government had resorted to indirect taxes and that was the reason why the VAT was increased in this year’s budget.
The Programmes Director of FES, Ebow Mensah said the programme was to create a forum for Organised Labour to discuss the 2021 Mid-Year Budget Review.
He pledged this organisation’s commitment to supporting programmes to influence policy reforms to improve the conditions of service of workers sand the citizens in general.
BY KINGSLEY ASARE