The General Secretary of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), Dr Titus Beyuo, says it is out of place for any government official to say workers are being insensitive with their demand for a cost of living allowance (COLA) in the face of the current economic conditions, which has forced a move to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
He insists that the demand for the 20 percent COLA is even not enough given how living conditions have worsened from the last time the demand was made.
“COLA was something common to all of Organised Labour,” Dr Beyuo explained on TV3‘s New Day on Tuesday, July 12.
“That was why it was re-echoed by the Secretary General [of TUC] on May Day, which is a worker’s day to let government know that we are taking this demand really seriously.”
He continued: “At the time that we were making the demand, it was purely based on the economic conditions at the time. Fuel prices were high, now even higher. Interest rate was about 19-20 percent, and that was why we were asking for 20 percent.
“In fact, if we were making the demand today, I doubt we will be asking for 20 percent. We would have asked for more.”
The demand for a 20 percent COLA has already caused four teacher unions to proceed on strike.
The National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), the Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU) and Coalition of Concerned Teachers-Ghana (CCT-G) on Monday, July 4 withdrew their services, demanding the 20 percent COLA.
Other labour unions have also threatened industrial action over same demand.
Dr Beyuo stressed that if workers threaten employers with strike or proceed on same, “it means that they are at their wits’ end”.
He expressed hope that Tuesday’s meeting of the Forum of Public Sector Associations and Unions with government will find a resolution.