The inception of the Single Spine salary structure has in general terms made workers in the public sector, satisfied and the sector, energized; it has led to an upward and a more streamlined salary adjustment. The private sector, in contrast, only reigns in her past glories! Conditions are fast deteriorating for workers in the sector.
The sector plays a key role in the economic growth of this nation since a vast majority of the working populace, are accounted for in the areas of services, construction, manufacturing, agriculture, mining, and quite recently, the oil and gas. Although there has been a recent influx of activities within this sector, the general salaries of workers are non-reflective.
Privatization is on a rapid increase due to the call for foreign investors, entrepreneurship and industrialization in Ghana! The number of local firms has increased overnight, and so has the interest in a number of international firms. Inevitably, the demand for workers within this sector!
Despite all these however, salaries of workers are un-attractive! This is so for the skilled, semi-skilled, and unskilled labour respectively! It is simply a case of daylight robbery! The general notion that private pays better, is a fallacy! The sad reality is that in Ghana today, workers in the public sector are enjoying far better working conditions than their colleagues in the private sector. There are of course some exceptions but even with those, there is more room for improvement! The private sector looks lucrative or attractive, but in truth, can be unrewarding!
I sometimes wonder if there are indeed people out there who actually care for the welfare of workers in Ghana! Clearly, there are people with various designations who have been tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that the welfare or interest of our people are always secured but rather sadly, these people are failing us!
In Ghana, several welfare groups have been established from the local to the government level and yet, in the end nothing seems to be done! Even among companies, these groups or associations do exist and yet in the end, workers are inadequately represented! Their concerns are not addressed!
Foreign workers, popularly referred to as expatriates are paid much better than their local counterparts, although they all play similar roles or even much more on the part of our local workers. It leaves a bad feeling when some workers within the same company, performing similar duties, are paid much higher than some others, simply because the former is referred to as an expatriate, and the latter, a local worker! How much do we value ourselves as Ghanaians?
Are there no better salary regulations for workers in Ghana? Our own laws seem to favour foreigners much more! Each year, a budget is read and salaries are adjusted. For a fact, I know that minimum wages are usually proposed. Rather cunningly most private companies prefer to hide behind these minimum rates, as proposed by the government, in paying their workers! For goodness sakes, it is only called a minimum wage, and not the actual! If indeed, it is a minimum wage; our private companies should endeavour to pay more; fairly and reasonably above the minimum wages proposed!
What do the Ghana Wages and Salaries Commission have to say? What does our Trade Union Congress have to say? What about our Local Government? These are the very institutions, behind which our private companies hide in finding ways to cheat workers! Most private entities operate without due consideration for their workforce. It is always an issue of sole-proprietorship and so, salaries of workers cannot be contested. Who do we then turn to?
What does the Single Spine Salary Structure hold for those in the private sectors considering the fact that a greater majority of our populace is accounted for by the sector? There should definitely be a system that would ensure that better salaries are paid to workers who fall outside the umbrella of government; after all, the government cannot employ majority of us! Can a salary structure similar to the Single Spine be drafted for private workers?
Highly skilled labour in Ghana, are being bought at cheap prices! Must this continue? It is high time our government and all other focus groups made an effort to devise a salary structure for all manner of professionals and skills in this country. Majority of our populace have no idea of their professional value! People accept whatever salary is proposed to them because they have no idea, what their worth is! There should be a system that would assign values to our professional worth! We need to be paid what we actually deserve, and not what some stingy employer thinks!
Anna Esi Hanson (firstname.lastname@example.org), Takoradi.