President John Dramani Mahama has reiterated government’s commitment not to yield to pressure from labour unions agitating for increment in their salaries and allowances. The President explained that compromising on government’s stance would negatively affect the country’s budget.
Speaking at an Africa-United States business forum in New York on Wednesday, the President noted that, most labour unions take advantage of the sensitivity of the election period to impress upon government to yield to their demands by embarking on series of strikes.
“We have a four-year term and anytime we are in an election year, there is pressure on government to open up the expenditure and so various professional groups are going on strike and are demanding more money and because we are in a sensitive period, government is compelled to yield to organised labour.”
He added that government in the past gave in to such demands from labour and that negatively affected the economy; but it has taken a decision against such practice.“What we have tried to do is to even out our spending on socio-economic infrastructure and to set the principle that if it is not in the budget, we are not going to pay and so excessive demands by labour are not going to be listened to,” he stated.
Presient Mahama’s comments come at a time when several labour unions including the Government Hospital Pharmacists Association (GHOSPA), Ghana Railway Workers Union, Colleges of Education Teachers Association of Ghana (CETAG), and staff of the Electoral Commission, have intensified demands for increased salaries and allowances owed them.
The President earlier in 2015, said government is committed to ensuring that it maintains its fiscal discipline, and not succumb to any election year pressures to overspend its budget.
The Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) has also said it will not give in to the demands from the labour unions. He said most of their demands were not consistent with the way the policy works.The Head of Public Affairs of the commission, Earl Ankrah in an interview yesterday accused some of the agitating unions of failing to go through the right procedures to have their concerns addressed.