Reconsider directive on Ghana Card — Organised Labour

BY: Emmanuel Bonney

Organised Labour has asked the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department (CAGD) to reconsider its directive that government workers without Ghana Cards will not be paid their salaries, effective December 1.

According to organised labour, the process of acquiring the Ghana Card had not been efficient and easy, and implementing such a policy within a short time would be problematic and unfair to the affected people.

While the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) and the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) are lauding the directive, saying it will be an effective way to deal with ghost names on payrolls, they are, however, asking for an extension of the deadline to enable all who are yet to acquire their cards to do so.

Directive

A statement issued by the CAGD last Tuesday said effective December 1, 2021, workers on Government of Ghana payroll who had not registered with the NIA would not be paid.

It said the department was collaborating with the National Identification Authority (NIA) to have a harmonised database “to facilitate biometric and unique identification of all workers on the government payroll”.

It explained that the directive was “part of Government of Ghana’s efforts to deliver a speedy, secure and verified payroll service to government employees and pensioners, while reducing the risk of undeserving payment or claims”.

GNAT

Responding to the statement from the CAGD, the GNAT, which has the majority of workers on government payroll, described it as a threat to Ghanaian workers, and that it was unacceptable.

It wondered why the CAGD left out the NIA, which was supposed to ensure the smooth registration of persons, and the government (employer), which was supposed to facilitate the process for workers.

“We think it is unacceptable, it is unfair and unjust. We are formally going to write to the CAGD today, drawing attention to the fact that the issue has to do with social partnership.

“The NIA should guarantee that it can get the cards for all workers by that particular date, while the employer (government) should also guarantee that it will facilitate the process.

“If they cannot do this and the CAGD goes ahead to carry out its threat, we can assure them that the unions will respond appropriately. You cannot hold us to ransom as if we are on our own,” the General Secretary of GNAT, Mr Thomas Musah, told the Daily Graphic yesterday.

He said it must be placed on record that any attempt to get the CAGD to do things right, particularly when it came to workers’ salaries, was welcomed by the association, since it was laudable and would inure to the benefit of the country.

However, regarding access to the Ghana Card, he said there had been challenges with it, which had made it impossible for people to get it.

“Once this particular task is on workers of Article 190, it must also be placed on record that there are many duty bearers who have a role to play to get this done. For instance, Article 23 of the Constitution provides that when it comes to the implementation of services, public servants are to act fairly and justly in their delivery of services. So the question we are asking is: can the NIA guarantee that by the date the CAGD has given, it can deliver Ghana cards to all Article 190 workers?” he said.

The directive from the CAGD should had been placed on the government, since workers worked for it, Mr Musah said, adding that the “same notice should cover the employer, that it be committed to assisting the worker and grant him/her every assistance to ensure that he or she is registered”.

ICU

The General Secretary of the ICU, Mr Morgan Ayawine, said using the Ghana Card as a conditionality for the payment of salaries was most unfortunate.

He was of the belief that other worker unions on government payroll would protest the directive from the CAGD, since “it is not a popular decision among them”.

He said the NIA should be allowed to work towards the establishment of district offices to create an opportunity for the smooth registration of workers and Ghanaians in general.