Government left the minimum wage at GHS13.53 because it could not do more – Austin Gamey
Labour expert Mr Austin Gamey has revealed the recent increment of minimum wage from GHS13.53 to GHS14.88 ought to have been more than that but due to the current economic situation that is why the government could not go the full length.
Sharing his opinion in an interview on TV3 on 16th November 2022, Mr Gamey said “the reality is that our country is in some difficulty and obviously if the Ministry and tripartite for that matter go the full length as should be the case perhaps they may not be able to if the government itself as an employer is below that then they may not be able to to meet it because any 1% adjustment in the public sector obviously would trigger huge sums of money should be gotten to pay them and if they can get they may have to borrow with a 35% interest it means we are further going to oblivion”.
“Generally speaking, the determination of a national daily minimum wage which is based on the labour act section 113 of 651, should normally from a professional point of view I am sure they know it but because of the kind of situation, we find ourselves in they sort of did a hybrid something of having to increase the daily minimum wage and also talked about the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA). Maybe they did not go the full hall with the manner in which the daily minimum wage should have been determined,” he stated.
He explained that “from a professional point of view it is the restoration of the last grounds as far as inflation is concerned and in doing so the inflation was projected to go up by the end of the year as currently, it is hovering around 40.4%. Obviously to restore it means just knocking it off and we would be having about a 32% adjustment to bring it to parity not that you have been given more but to bring you to exactly where you should be from a professional point of view. I think that is where it should have been but because of the kind of situation we find ourselves in perhaps, they brought the hybrid so we do not have a further dislocation in the fiscal regime of the nation”.
Regarding how workers would accept this and whether it would be adequate for them, Mr Gamey said “I think I shared it before that clarity in the way of information will always be the way forward if you are married and you do not let your wife know how much you earn she will ask you amiss by way of asking you more than you earn and then you experience bankruptcy in your marriage. The same way the employer whether you like it or not the same procedures should follow you should share information and our labour law is very clear under section 97″.
“When the previous government had a similar situation though not exactly similar we had to go with all the players in Ghana and all the matter to Senchi and Takoradi and because of the extent of information we shared all the workers agreed that they cannot use any other method to address the situation fast and ensure that we do not dislocate further the fiscal regime of the nation and that is how we went about it but currently we are not engaging much so the level of dialogue in some corners here and there and it is not sufficient.”
Reiterating the issue of dialogue with stakeholders on the labour front he added that “so like I just said normally I chaired national tripartite committee several times and I can tell you that, that is the way it supposed to be done and I believe my colleagues would have done the same thing but they have employed the hybrid method. But let me tell you I also form part of the team that wrote the pension scheme and that is predicated on the very minimum wage so if somebody worked for x number of years the least minimum the person should be going away with about GHS10, 000 second-tier so because the real restoration is whittled down and because we are in crater they will suffer the consequences some years to come”.
Mr Gamey, in conclusion, advised that “it is not a pleasant situation but we have to bare with one another otherwise this country will get terribly dislocated and you know how painful dislocation is”.
Read the statement below.