Elections 2016: Labour Unrest May Cost Mahama

A senior and influential Ghanaian media practitioner has warned that the John Mahama government would do itself a great disservice ahead of the November 7 elections if it does not urgently tackle and resolve all lingering labor issues.


While acknowledging the good works of the Mahama government in all facets of national life so far, the respected ace journalist who does not want to be named said “the number of people working in the public sector is quite huge, so if you’re a government and you’re not in their good books, you’ll be in trouble on the day of voting.”

President John Dramani Mahama
President John Dramani Mahama

Speaking to The aL-hAJJin an exclusive interviewon strict condition of anonymity, the influential journalist said a lot of the labor issues that rocked the Mahama government since its inception on January 7, 2013, have still not been properly resolved.

“There is no doubt that the present government has performed. If that was the sole criterion for determining who wins the presidential election on November 7, I can confidently say that John will win, but unfortunately other factors also determine who wins election and one of them is the one I have just told you. Despite the introduction of single spine pay policy which has enhanced workers salary, most employees in the public sector are currently not happy with this government,” he stated.

Singling out the recurring standoffs between health workers, teachers and government, the first-rate media practitioner averred “I’m personally not happy with the way government is handling the teachers, doctors and health workers in general …election is just nine months away and if things continue like this, it will cost John the elections.

Government of Ghana has over 700,000 workers on its pay roll with about 400,000 of them in the teaching and health sectors.

The country’s public sector has for some time now been hard hit by labor unrest, as more workers in the health and education sectors have in one way or the other either laid down their tools or threatened to strike over wages, allowances and/or conditions of service.

This came to a head last year as Medical doctors working in the country’s public sector quit their consulting rooms indefinitely for several weeks, and threatened to resign en mass if government failed to heed to their cry, but that was averted following the intervention of the Labor minister.

Days into the doctors’ strike, pharmacists and psychiatric nurses also abandoned their tools demanding better working conditions and unpaid allowances and salaries. But the psychiatric nurses rescinded their decision after reaching a deal with the Labor and Employment Ministry.

In what became known as the strike-trail, teachers in public universities also declared indefinite strike to press home demand for payment of their book and research allowances.

While government was struggling to deal with demands of the university teachers, auxiliary workers group, teachers and education workers union (TEWU), also warned it might also join the strike-trail if their concerns were not addressed.

To compound the government’s plight, about 3,000 mid-wives and nurses in the country at the same time had also threatened to occupy the Finance and Health Ministries over issues of postings, payment of allowances and outstanding salaries.

In all these cases, while government has effectively settled some of the labor issues, some, particularly the teachers, health workers among others, have not been properly resolved.

This, the senior journalist noted “is unhealthy for a government that has performed creditably and is seeking a second term in office. If care is not taken, these unresolved labor issues will obliterate all the gains that government has labored to achieved.”

Source: The alHajj

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