Organised labour at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) has given the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) up to next week Monday to restore their deducted allowances.
Consequently, the group, which comprised the senior management union and the divisional union, has announced a roadmap to embark on an indefinite strike from Monday, June 12, 2023.
The Divisional Chairman of the Public Services Workers Union (PSWU) at the GBC, Sam Nat Kevor, who gave the ultimatum at a press conference in Accra yesterday, therefore asked all members of the union to wear red bands or attire with effect from yesterday until the declaration of the strike.
“Today, as we speak to you, our senior management staff have lost 33 per cent of their salaries following this obnoxious and illegal decision.
The allowances were fixed for the past 15 years and were part of the negotiated and approved condition of service while other ranks, up to manager level, have also lost some of their allowances,” he indicated.
Mr Kevor said some allowances had been removed by the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD) upon the directive by the FWSC and what was worrying was that apart from removing the allowances, some staff had also suffered “a retro net offset deductions between GH¢600 and GH¢800.”
Mr Kevor said “some of the allowances being enjoyed by GBC workers and which have now been deducted were not part of those that were consolidated.”
“In view of the situation we find ourselves, we wish to announce a road map towards a full blown indefinite strike. From June 2, 2023, all staff will come to work either in red attire or red bands for one week,” he emphasised and said, “if nothing positive, in terms of the restoration of the deducted allowances, occurs, the unions will begin an indefinite strike.’’
The FWSC began payroll auditing in April this year. Two weeks ago, the FWSC audited the payroll of the staff of GBC over some allowances which, it said, some staff of GBC did not deserve.
It, therefore, wrote to the CAGD to stop the payment of the allowances and allow the affected staff to refund the money. The GBC unionized staff cautioned against the directive, but the CAGD had carried it through.
”Recounting the genesis of what led to the deductions by the FWSC, the divisional union chairman said these allowances were negotiated as “per our collective agreement and senior management staff condition of service.”
He said the last negotiation by the Public Services Joint Standing Negotiation Committee (PSJNC) occurred on August 26, 2019, with the effective payment date being January 1, 2020.
He said “the disposition of the CEO of the FWSC began with the negotiation for our category two and three non-core allowances which started smoothly in 2021 with the then CEO, Dr Edward Kwapong, until Mr Arthur took over in the latter part of 2022.
The posture of Mr Arthur, according to Mr Kevor, was clearly manifested in the number of times negotiations had to be adjourned.
Mr Kevor alleged that Mr Arthur deliberately delayed in forwarding the outcome of the negotiations to the Ministry of Finance for onward transfer to the CAGD. He said in spite of the intervention from the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Arthur still delayed for four months until he finally forwarded the signed agreement to the Ministry of Finance.
Mr Kevor, who wore a red headgear and was flanked by the Chairman of the Senior Management Union, Alhaji Abdul Razak Tahiru, and a member of the Local Trustee, Mr Abraham Osekre, said a meeting convened by the Minister of Information and the CEO of FWSC to seek a resolution to the impasse could not yield any result as Mr Arthur claimed that the collective agreement of GBC had expired and also the allowances had been revised under the Single Spine Salary Scheme.
He said in spite of efforts to prevent the deductions and to meet him, Mr Arthur went ahead and directed the CAGD to remove the allowances of GBC workers.
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