Organized Labour which comprised of all labor unions in the public sector yesterday briefed the press on some of the reasons why they accepted the 4% and 7% as base pay increments for public sector workers for the 2021 and 2022 years respectively.
According to organized Labour, the available evidence indicated that further increases might lead to redundancy in the public service. They had to avoid redundancy, by all means,
because of the negative social and economic effects of the mass redundancies
we witnessed in the 1990s, as part of the structural adjustment program.
They have also witnessed the redundancy of tens of thousands of workers in the
private sector due to the pandemic.
Another reason was that they wanted to avoid the payment of Cost-of-Living-
Allowance (COLA). You may recall that in 2014 when the economy of Ghana
was in crisis, the government argued that it could not increase Base Pay so we
accepted COLA of 10%. Workers’ contribution to social security remained at
2013 levels the whole of 2014. In 2015, we proposed a 25% increase in Base
Pay. Finally, the government offered 13% and we accepted it, after months of
negotiations. But as public sector workers may remember, the 13% increase
was based on the 2013 Base Pay excluding the 10% COLA. Therefore,
effectively, public sector workers received just a three percentage point
increase over their 2014 salaries.
“This year we made a firm decision that a pay rise, however small, is better
than COLA. So they got the government to move from a position of 0% to 4% for
2021 and to 7% for 2022. It did not meet our expectations neither did it meet
the expectation of our members.” Organized Labour explain
What they managed to do was to get the government to accept the following
conditions in addition to the 4% increment for 2021 and 7% for 2022.
(1) That during agreement period (2021-2022) government shall not declare any public sector worker redundant. In other words, all the over 700,000 public sector workers will keep their jobs no matter the state of the economy and government finances.
(2) That government shall not freeze employment in the public service
This means the government will continue to employ workers into the
(3) That all workers will be vaccinated against the pandemic during the agreement period (2021-2022).
(4) That government will pay social security contributions (with special reference to the second-tier contributions) regularly.
They explained that Employment security for their members is important to them. That they also took into
consideration the teeming young men and women who are searching for
jobs, and the health of workers and their pensions.
The ongoing discussions on various social media platforms indicate clearly
that workers are understandably unhappy with the outcome of the
negotiations. They are not happy either. They settled on the relatively low rates
of increments reluctantly, after intense negotiations spanning many
But we are happy to note that none of our members in the public service will
lose his or her job during the agreement period, more young people will be
employed (1 million in the next three years according to the President).
workers will be fully vaccinated against the virus and their pensions will be
What they have to do now is to monitor the implementation of the conditions
attached to the 4% for 2021 and 7% for 2022 to ensure that there shall be
no redundancy, one million jobs will be created in the next three years
equitably distributed across all the 16 regions, all workers will be vaccinated
and workers’ pension contributions will be paid on time, without delay.
The current system of remuneration in the public sector favors some
categories of office holders in the public service. They, therefore, call on the
President to initiate a process towards the establishment of a commission
made up of experts from various fields to advise the government on public
sector salaries for all job holders in the entire public service, to ensure