After a back and forth between striking labor unions and government, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, yesterday disclosed that the two parties had finally agreed on a 15% Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) to be paid to all public sector workers.
The Minister said agreement takes retrospective effect from July 1, 2022.
Mr Baffour-Awuah noted that with this new agreement, all planned industrial actions had been suspended immediately.
Yesterday’s meeting was the third between the government and labour unions since the demand for COLA started.
The delegation from the government side included the Minister of National Security, Albert Kan-Dapaah; Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum; and Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta.
A meeting between both parties on Tuesday was adjourned due to the refusal of some labour unions to call off their strike before negotiations commenced.
“We have had to adjourn the meeting because both parties, labour and government, think that we cannot do this while a party is on strike, so the agreement is that we are going off to talk to each other. They call off the strike and we come again to meet,” Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Bright Wereko-Brobbey, said.
Teachers in the pre-tertiary education sector had been on strike with other groups, with the Union of Professional Nurse and Midwives joining calls by some public sector workers for the government to pay them the 20% COLA.
The Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) on July 12, 2022, commenced negotiations with 23 labour unions and associations over their demands.
It could be recalled that on May 1, 2022, Organised Labour, led by the Trades Union Congress (Ghana) and on behalf of all workers of Ghana, made a request for the payment of COLA to workers.
“This was followed by a formal request to His Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana on 24th June 2022, which unfortunately has not been honoured. The decision to accept a 7% salary increment for the year 2022 had been thrown out of gear by the rising cost of living.
“In the midst of rising cost of living, inflation currently pegged at 27.6% (with a propensity to rise further), and pending astronomical increases in utility tariffs, the economic analysis which formed the basis of our acceptance of a 1-year salary increment for the year 2022 has obviously been thrown out of gear. Considering the worsening economic challenges, members of the PSWU are left with no other option but to draw attention to their economic wellbeing,” a letter from the Public Services Workers Union (PSWU) had read.