Speaking to Pulse Business, Dr. Tawiah said it is within the right of labour to make financial demands on government
A Lecturer at the University of Ghana Business School, Dr. Kwasi Amponsah Tawiah, has voiced support for organized labour’s demand for a 50 percent pay rise to cushion them against the recently announced utility and fuel tariffs increment.
Electricity and water tariffs were increased to 59.2 per cent and 67.2 per cent respectively by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), last month.
In addition, the passage of the Energy Sector Levy, 2015 by Parliament last December, assented to by the president resulted in a 27% increase in price of petrol at the pump.
Speaking to Pulse Business, the Human Resource and Organisational Behaviour Lecturer said it is within the right of labour to make financial demands on government once there is an increase in prices of electricity, water and fuel.
“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).”
“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.”
He also accused the government of subtly implementing an IMF programme that lacks total "transparency."
A marathon meeting between the Labour Minister, Haruna Iddrisu, and organized labour on the impact of the fuel increases on Tuesday ended in a deadlock.
The TUC Secretary General Mr Kofi Asamoah, at the end of the meeting said the meeting was not conclusive.
“Our insistence is on the reduction of utility levels since it is going to worsen the plight of ordinary people and we made government and stakeholders appreciate our unhappiness with those developments.”
The chairman of the Tema District Council of Labour, Wilson Agana said labour will not settle for anything less than 50% salary hike.
Read More: Ghanaians feel pinch of new fuel taxes today
"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.
Labour Minister, Haruna Iddrisu on his part said “those difficult but necessary decisions to stabilise the economy and to fix the energy crisis and prevent it from relapsing into a deeper crisis.”