Sulemana Braimah, theÂ Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA),Â says the Government needs to pay attention to the demands of members of the Civil and Local Government Staff Association because they “deserve more.
“CLOGSAG needs more. What they take is not good. In terms of fairness, people running local government deserve more…,” he said in a media discussion on conditions of service of workers in the country.
Mr Braimah said the demand for neutrality allowance by the Association was not out of place and that what was needed was a ‘proper’ definition of the allowance.
He, therefore,Â charged the leadership of the Association to continue to negotiate with Government for what was due them.
Nana Agyekum-Dwamena, Head of Civil Service, at a CLOGSAG May Day Thanksgiving Service, urged the Government to quickly address issues of remuneration of members of the Association to restore industrial harmony.
The Civil and Local Government Staff Association, Ghana (CLOGSAG) and the government have been at crossroads for almost two weeks over the former’s demand for payment of neutrality allowance and other remunerations.
As a result, CLOGSAG has been on strike since April 21, 2022.
Nana Agyekum-Dwamena said over the years, the Civil and Local Government Staff, and to a large extent, public servants had contributed immensely to the development of the country and must be given what they deserved.
â€œWe are one of the organisations that hardly undertake industrial action, one of the organisations that are much more flexible in terms of understanding ofÂ issues because we are the centre of government,â€ he said and added that: â€œWe are part of the broad processes, we are part of policy formulation, monitoring and evaluation processes, so we clearly understand the challenges of this country and so I want to encourage the people of Ghana to come to a certain understanding ( the role civil servants play in national development).â€
Some people, including civil society organisations, as well as social and political commentators, have questioned the rationale for the payment of the neutrality allowance.
In response to that, Nana Agyekum-Dwamena entreated Ghanaians to be circumspect in their criticisms against CLOGSAG’s demand for neutrality allowance.
He explained that the calculation for the allowance started in 2019, adding that it was a series of allowances numbering about 48, cut down close to eight, which had been harmonised.
â€œSo the neutrality is really a representation of a broader lot of allowances,â€ he said.
He added that; â€œI know that, that has been a major concern. People have come out to say that no, that is not what we are supposed to do and all that. You are entitled to your own opinion and that is a fact, but the point still remains that nobody has really contested the fact that civil and local government staff have gone through negotiations, have gone through the processes and let me stress that with recognition of what this country is going through, negotiations are still continuing and even the initial stance to a large extent has been watered down.”
He said civil and local government staff were going through many difficulties and challenges and said it was important the citizenry understood their concerns.
He commended CLOGSAG for its continued support of the Service and the development of the country.
â€œI have always said this and I will say it again that since independence the civil and local government services, by extension public services, have held this country together.
â€œWe have gone through various political upheavals. You go back even 1966. After the 66 coups, we are the people who managed this country. So, I will always encourage you to be proud,â€ Nana Agyekum-Dwamena said.
Dr Evans A. Dzikum, President of CLOGSAG, thanked members of the Association for showing commitment, duty consciousness and contributing to the governmentâ€™s plans, programmes and activities, despite the poor conditions of service.
Mr Isaac Bampoe Addo, Executive Secretary of CLOGSAG, assured members of the Association of leadership’s commitment to ensure that the government fulfilled its part of the agreement on conditions of service agreed on January 20, 2022.
Mr Thomas Musah, General Secretary, Ghana National Association of Teachers, GNAT, said current salaries could not sustain workers when on retirement.
Dr Yaw Baah, Secretary-General, Trades Union Congress (TUC), said the Congress was not against CLOGSAG’s neutrality allowance and said Government must find resources to increase salaries to avoid labour unrest.