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Handle wage negotiations in good faith – Austin Gamey warns

Source: Ghana||Ivy Benson

Labour consultant, Austin Gamey has called for truce between government and labour unions in the negotiation of minimum wage rate for workers.

Speaking to Joy News Wednesday, Mr. Gamey noted that negotiations on wage rate must be done in good faith in order for the parties involved arrive at the right and desired conclusion.

There was heated discussions over minimum wage for workers at a crunch tripartite committee meeting on Wednesday.

As government offers a-5 percent cost of living allowance (COLA), labor has vehemently rejected the offer and demanded a 10% increase of the minimum wage rate.

But government indicated that labour cannot have both cost of living allowance and increment on the minimum wage rate, since providing a-14% COLA in addition to a-5% increase in wage rate will break down the economy.

According to Mr. Gamey, providing COLA to cushion the living conditions of workers is not a new phenomenon as the practice dates back in 1983 when inflation went up.

“Now inflation is 14.5% and COLA is not bad to give”, he indicated.

The Labour expert said COLA is normally paid once to workers in order not to influence inflation

“It will not make economic sense to increase wage bill at this time since it will increase inflation. It is better to introduce COLA to cushion the cost of living”, Mr. Gamey noted.

He therefore noted that up to about 6% increment in wage is reasonable as anything more will trigger economic hardship for the country.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC), last week, issued a-four-day ultimatum to 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 are not concluded before May 1.

Labour is of the view that their demand is to help workers manage with the current economic hardships that has engulfed the country.