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Stop paying Gov’t back with strikes – Mahama to Labour

President John Mahama has asked public sector workers to reciprocate the government’s implementation of the single spine salary structure (SSSS) with high productivity rather than strikes and labour agitations.

Mr. Mahama told workers at Wednesday’s celebration of May Day at Takoradi in the Western region that the successful implementation of the SSSS and its consequent swelling of public workers’ salaries must be appreciated rather than scorned.

He said the implementation of the SSSS has, “undoubtedly increased the take-home salary of public sector workers exponentially”.

Mr. Mahama said: “We are all witnesses to the remarkable improvements that have been achieved through its implementation”, adding that: “Government as an employer and the custodian of the national interest expects that Labour will reciprocate these increases in wages and salaries with higher levels of labour productivity, not with strikes and unbridled agitations”.

The President nonetheless conceded that: “There are some post implementation challenges and outstanding issues which need to be addressed”.

He mentioned the issues of market premium, about which a white paper was recently issued, as well as category 2 and 3 allowances and the issue of Article 71 Holders.

He said: “I have asked the Constitutional Review Commission Implementation committee to speed up work, especially, on the amendment of article 71 in order to bring everyone, from the President right down to the lowest labourer onto a single emolument system”.

“This will ensure fairness and sustainability”, President Mahama said.

He said the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations is expected to thoroughly review the implementation of the SSSS so as “to rectify its anomalies and defects and improve upon its implementation by May/June this year”.

If Ghana is to make progress and bequeath an improved country to the next generation, “then organized Labour must look beyond self-centred agitations involving salaries and allowances alone and come to the table with ideas, proposals and suggestions about how we can collectively address challenges facing the less fortunate and unorganized masses in our society”.

He noted that: “Strike actions are an absolute last resort; they must not be an option of first resort, we must turn to strikes only when everything else has failed; let us all play by the rules”.

He said: “It is only when we raise additional revenue that we can pay better salaries”.

The President also noted that the Government will implement policies to cut down waste in the public sector, especially with regard to the use of state vehicles.

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