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Single Spine policy review in offing

BY: Emelia Ennin Abbey
President Akufo-Addo (2nd from left), Ignatius Baffour Awuah (2nd from right), Minister of Employment and Labour Relations; Daasebre Akuamoah Agyapong ll (left), Kwahuhene and President of the Kwahu Traditional Council, Seth Kwame Acheampong (right), Eastern Regional Minister, with some dignitaries after opening the national labour conference
President Akufo-Addo (2nd from left), Ignatius Baffour Awuah (2nd from right), Minister of Employment and Labour Relations; Daasebre Akuamoah Agyapong ll (left), Kwahuhene and President of the Kwahu Traditional Council, Seth Kwame Acheampong (right), Eastern Regional Minister, with some dignitaries after opening the national labour conference

The single spine pay policy (SSPP) is to undergo a review to address salary inequalities, weak salary administration and management of conditions of service, 14 years after its implementation.

In line with that, the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations will constitute a technical committee by Wednesday to undertake a preliminary review of the pay policy.

The committee will consider the cost implications and advise the government on policy reforms for the implementation of a revised pay policy.

The decision followed recommendations by participants at the second national labour conference at Kwahu Nkwatia in the Eastern Region which was opened by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

The two-day conference, which was on the theme: “Strengthening tripartism for building peaceful relations and a resilient economy”, sought to reinforce a tripartite conversation on the dynamics and happenings on the labour front for coordinated policy responses.

It was attended by more than 200 participants from government institutions, employer organisations, organised labour and representatives from selected establishments.

Among issues discussed were the state of the economy, conditions of service of public sector workers, public sector salaries, labour productivity, labour dispute prevention and resolution and ensuring sustainable pensions for all.

Communique

A communique highlighting decisions taken at the conference was signed by the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah, and the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, both representing the government; the Secretary-General of the Trades Union Congress, Ghana (TUC), Dr Anthony Yaw Baah, representing organised labour, and the President of the Ghana Employers Association, Mr Daniel Acheampong, who represented employers.

The participants urged the government to develop an implementation road map for revising the pay policy and align the reviewed policy to the next budget cycle.

To ensure sustainability in compensation payments, they asked that the social partners work together to agree on a medium-term framework for the adjustment of public sector pay and to work collectively to improve revenue mobilisation.

The government, they said, should also resource the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) to build its capacity to perform its functions for pay administration in the public service more efficiently and effectively.

They further called for coordination among the FWSC, the Ministry of Finance and all other relevant agencies to determine clearly the annual wage basket allowed for negotiations, while the FWSC implemented a framework to link pay to productivity.

Dispute resolution

On dispute prevention and resolution, the participants recommended that the government should strengthen the capacity of the Labour Department and the National Labour Commission to enforce labour laws, regulations and directives for the settlement of disputes.

Additionally, it must ensure the effective and timely prevention of labour disputes by providing resources for institutions established for the enforcement of labour laws, as well as the resolution of disputes.

The tripartite partners also agreed to collectively undertake sensitisation and awareness creation on existing and relevant labour laws and regulations to facilitate compliance and enforcement for industrial peace and harmony.

Pension

On pensions, the tripartite group, comprising the government, organised labour and employers, are to initiate a national discussion on pension scheme unifications.

They also urged the government and organised labour to accelerate their engagement to ensure that all outstanding issues on Temporary Pension Funds Account (TPFA) were resolved.

Additionally, they called on the government to redefine pensionable income to include allowances and non-cash benefits to enhance benefits after retirement.

For the sustainability of all pension schemes, they demanded that the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) must ensure regular actuarial assessment of the SSNIT and all pension schemes.

"Pensions are part of working conditions and must be prioritised by employers for the benefit of workers," the communique said.