The government last week announced a new national daily minimum wage (NDMW) of GH¢9.68. This, according to the National Tripartite Committee (NTC), comprising the government, organised labour and employers, will take effect January 1, 2018.
This is something that we think should have been a welcome piece of news generally to workers in this country. Interestingly, however, this has not been the case right from the day the announcement was made.
According to the Secretary General of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Dr. Yaa Baah, workers agreed to take 10 per cent-wage increase. This, he said, was based on projections from the ministry of finance to the effect that inflation will be below 10% in 2018.
One key factor that motivates workers generally is an appreciable remuneration that will enable them live decent lives. That is to mean a meaningful package that can cater adequately for the worker and his/her family.
But the question, which most often is asked, is: is the minimum wage adequate enough to take the worker home? We believe workers in this country will be the first to answer this question with a big no in the context of the cost of living in this country today.
Per what has been announced it means, therefore, that the least paid worker in this country should be taking home GH¢300 as salary per month. Unfortunately, however, this is not always the case. Not all employers heed to the call to pay the least paid worker in their employ, nothing less than the national minimum wage. Some sections of the private sector stand accused here. That is no secret.
Yet, those institutions which should be seen actively intervening on behalf of those employees who feel cheated by their employers are not seen to be coming to their aid. The Ghana Employers’ Association and the Association of Ghanaian Industries both have key roles to play in ensuring that no Ghanaian worker, whether in the private or public sectors, are not taken undue advantage of when it comes to their earnings vis-a-vis the national minimum wage.
Yes, there is hope for a new minimum wage come the beginning of next year. However, in view of the current state of affairs and the high cost of living, the 9.68% increase would not be enough to take the worker home, especially if the living conditions in the country, do not improve.
This is where Today is calling on the NTC to look at the new minimum wage again since we have some time between now and the period of implementation, 1st January, 2018.
We strongly believe that the NTC has some time to deliberate further on the matter and come up with something realistic, something that would be well received by workers across all board.
While urging the NTC to do something about the GH¢9.68 minimum wage, it is equally important that workers also give out their best.
In this sense productivity will increase which benefits can be shared by both the employer and the employee.