The government has decided not to pay the salaries of striking members of the polytechnic teachers association of Ghana (POTAG) for the number of days they remain on strike.
“The ministry fully supports the recommendation of the fair wages and salaries commission (FWSC) to the ministry of finance and economic planning that no salaries would be paid to POTAG lecturers for the number of days they remain on strike,” a statement signed by the minister of employment and social welfare, Mr Moses Asaga, said.
The association declared a nationwide strike after stalled negotiations with the FWSC on its market premium as part of its migration onto the single spine salary structure (SSSS).
Market premium, according to the government white paper on the SSSS, is the monetary incentive paid to attract and retain critical skills in short supply within the economy. It is to bring the salaries of skills in short supply to be close or equal in the actual market value of such skills, with the rationale of enabling the public services to compete favourably for such skills with the private sector.
The statement said the ministry believed that the FWSC had done its very best for polytechnic teachers and had shown much good faith.
Beside, the mediation agreement of December 20, 2012 did not envisage equality and that it only envisaged a bridging of the gap which the FWSC had done in all good faith.
It noted that the public sector comprised many groups, all of which demanded one form of entitlement or another and indicated the need to weigh the justification of the demands on the wage bill at any given time.
“It must be stated that whatever is given to any group of public service workers has a ripple effect o discussions with other groups and sets off its own snowballing effects on agitation in the larger public sector which are always difficult to handle,” it said.
It said during discussion on the applicable market premium for polytechnic teachers, the FWSC, with the mediation in mind, offered POTAG a market premium factor of 0.8 from its initial offer factor of 0.6.
However, it said, POTAG rejected the premium factor 0.8, which sought to move the gap in total compensation between university teachers and polytechnic teacher from the existing 5.5 per cent to 1.5 per cent and tabled a premium factor of 1.25
According to the statement, following requests by the rectors of polytechnics at a meeting with the minister of finance and economic planning and the chief executive of the FWSC, the rectors pleaded with the minister to increase the premium factor to help further reduce the gap between university and polytechnic teachers.
“The minister, therefore, agreed and requested the FWSC adjust the premium factor from 0.8 per cent to 0.9 per cent. This was to further reduce the gap to 11.2 per cent,” it said.
“The premium factor of 0.9 which has been offered as the final figure, in the view of FWSC, is fair and just,” it added.
However, it said, POTAG insisted on being paid a premium factor of 1.14, the same as pertain to the universities.
It said the FWSC believe that accepting that demand from POTAG would defeat the object of fairness and equity envisaged under the policy and indicated that the policy was flexible and would take care of any group which was made worse off as a result of the implementation of the policy in accordance with the principle not to make any group worse off upon migration.
The statement explained that the fact of one institution being in the same service classification with another “does not mean that the individual institution therein should have the same grading structure or, indeed, market premium as POTAG seems to imply at the discussion for the market premium”.
On the migration of POTAG onto the SSSS, it said polytechnic teachers had an understanding with the FWSC to wait until university teachers were migrated.
Therefore, it said, “it is incorrect to give the impression of an intentional delay or, indeed, discrimination towards polytechnic teachers for that matter”.
“Besides, at the end of the market premium discussions, the FWSC offered to immediately proceed to migrate POTAG onto the SSSS but POTAG objected to this,” it said.
Source: Daily Graphic
Wednesday 21, 2012