The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has warned of an imminent industrial action if the government fails to honour its request for Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) for public sector workers.
General Secretary of TUC, Dr Yaw Baah, gave the warning during an interview with the media in Accra yesterday before the 3rd Biannual Council Meeting of the Union.
He said the TUC had not heard from government since it requested for a 20 per cent COLA in March to cushion workers, in view of the growing hardship in the country.
The two-day meeting on the theme “The impact of high-interest rates on economic growth and employment creation,” was to, among others, review the half-year activities of the union.
He said the rising cost of goods and services had increased the cost of living and worsened the plight of workers.
DrBaah said TUC on Monday formally wrote a letter to the government for COLA for a section of public sector workers, such as those who earned below GH¢350.00 a month and workers in the security agencies such as the Ghana Immigration Service, Ghana Police Service and Ghana Prisons Service.
“Since we made the request in March, government has not spoken to us and that is the reason we wrote formally to government on Monday. We hope that government will listen to us because there is no time to waste. We expect that we engage around our request for COLA,” he said.
Dr Baah said the TUC requested a 20per cent COLA because interest rate had risen beyond 26 per cent.
“When we negotiated for salary increase this year, inflation was around nine per cent and now inflation has risen above 26 per cent,” the TUC boss said.
Asked if the TUC was ready to bear the consequences of impending labour agitations, DrBaahsaid “TUC had no option to embark on industrial action if government fails to heed to its demands.”
“If government allows labour agitations to go on in the country then it should be blamed, not TUC,” the TUC Boss said.
Dr Baah said it was the 700,000 public workers who were serving the 30 million people in the country and those in power.
He said if government did not address the worsening conditions of workers, then it appeared it did not appreciate the work of the public sector workers.
“Government has the responsibility to provide social services to the citizens and if the services are withdrawn because the government is not ready to meet our demands, then the public sector workers should not be blamed for the withdrawal of their services, but the government,” Dr Baah said.
Turning his focus on the meeting, Dr Baah said it would discuss the impact of high-interest rate on businesses, minimum wage and the Single Spine Salary Structure.
BY KINGSLEY ASARE