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Issues 50% pay rise not possible, labour minister tells organised labour

After a series of sweeping increases in taxes, utilities, and levies came into force this year, organised labour has been the neck of government to increase salaries by 50%.

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The Labour Minister Haruna Iddrisu has told Journalists in Accra that the 50% pay rise demanded by organised labour is not only "difficult but impossible."

After a series of sweeping increases in taxes, utilities, and levies came into force this year, organised labour has been on the neck of government to increase salaries by 50%.

They argue it is the only way workers can cushion themselves against the hikes.

However, the labour minister said their demand is not posssible.

“We need to be able to offset the outstanding legacy debt of almost GHS4.5 billion, so, a wage increase by 50 percent is not just difficult, but impossible.”

Read also: Fuel hikes sign of economic mismanagement-- Lecturer

“We would engage with Labour and see how we can reach them, in terms of some cushioning, and we have been meeting since they raised the red flags. We’ll continue to meet on Tuesday to look at it, particularly the PURC’s upward adjustment adjustments,” he said.

The chairman of the Tema District Council of Labour, Wilson Agana said labour will not settle for anything less than 50% salary hike after a marathon meeting between the labour minister and organised labour on Tuesday ended in a deadlock.

"We have to go back to the table and force for a salary increment for all workers. At least we have to go and fight for a salary increment of at least 50% else we cannot survive. Before we accept the increments then it means we must have salary raises for all workers. On Tuesday we will come out with our plans to press home our demands”, he said.

A Lecturer at the University of Ghana Business School, Dr. Kwasi Amponsah Tawiah, told Pulse Business labour is right to demand for pay rise.

Issues of tariffs turns to be complex and complicated,” Dr. Tawiah said. “Hikes in utility and fuel turns to affect everybody. Part of the worker's salary is used to pay for this (utility and fuel increment).”

Related: Organized labour fights for 50% salary increment

“They will ask for their pound of flesh,” because once salaries remain static, they are worse off when “they calculate” their transportation cost and others.

According to him, the employee is not supposed to be made worse off. To this end, Dr. Tawiah believes they are "justified" in their demand for pay rise.

Explaining further, he noted that the labour law said “employees should not be made worse off.”

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