The Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC), said on Tuesday that it was actively engaged in further negotiations with all stakeholders for a successful take-off of the Single Spine Pay Policy (SSPP) in July.
Mr. George Graham, Chief Executive Officer of the FWSC, therefore assured the leadership and members of all unions and associations of government’s good intentions to improve the salaries and conditions of workers in the public service.
Mr. Graham made this known at a media briefing on the implementation of the SSPP in Accra.
He noted that despite the few challenges, considerable progress had been made towards the implementation of the SSPP.
Mr. Graham said though much progress had been made in terms of negotiations with organised labour and other associations on placement and job evaluation, it was still working hard to address certain concerns raised by those who are not satisfied with various sections of the new pay policy.
“The SSPP being a new policy; requires continuous discussions to make it beneficial to all workers,” he added.
Mr. Graham announced that the commission had embarked on a broad public sensitisation and education campaign to create and deepen awareness about the pay policy among major and critical stakeholders and would soon launch a nation-wide communication and sensitisation programme to educate workers and the public on the subject.
The stakeholders include the Parliamentary Select Committee on Social Welfare, Employment and State Enterprises, the Clerk and Senior Officers of Parliament, editors and journalists.
He explained that the issuance of Government White Paper paved the way for the commission to give meaning and effect to the new policy and fully engage its stakeholders in the entire process.
“The commission held a consultative forum, where it presented update on the road map on the implementation of the SSPP for review, consideration of the White Paper and to discuss and adoption of a draft programmed road map for January to December.”
Mr. Graham said adoption of the road map was critical to meet the July 2010 implementation date of the SSPP.
He said the commission had intensified discussions with management of institutions, unions and associations to resolve issues and concerns received relating to placements on the spine, locations within particular service classification and about qualifications and placement and non-placement of certain professional groups on the structure.
Mr. Graham said based on the concerns raised it had agreed to conduct job evaluation for those not covered by the consultants and re-evaluate some selected jobs to ascertain their right placement on the structure.
Mr. Graham said an evaluation team was currently reviewing technical and financial proposals of consultancies to undertake the various evaluations, after which it would be executed.
Mr. Graham said the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD) had already begun work to off-load salary data from the various public service institutions unto the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS).
He said a joint committee of FWSC and CAGD had been established and currently working to ensure the smooth migration of institution’s payroll unto the SSSS.
Mr. Graham said the commission had so far received 78 Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBO) and Conditions of Services (COS) out of 104, representing 75 per cent of the response rate and was still studying them for more information on the way forward for negotiations to ensure equity, transparency and sustainability in the implementation of the SSPP.
He said to ensure effective management of the Wage Bill, it was imperative that the policy on standardisation and harmonisation of all allowances and COS be vigorously pursued.
Mr. Graham said the commission had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with organised labour and associations on the modalities for conducting negotiations on the base pay and relativities as part of developing a broader public service negotiation framework.
He explained that it would require the full commitment and collaboration of organised labour and associations to ensure that all newly established arrangements were of mutual benefit to all parties and ensure the smooth implementation of the new pay policy.
Mr. Graham appealed to the various unions and associations to give the commission more time to work on the guidelines for negotiations of the CBO and COS and other concerns.