Organized labor says it is skeptical government will lay off workers during the implementation of the first phase of the International Monetary Fund, (IMF) bailout programme.
Although government is expecting the second tranche of the bailout, organized labour wants government to implement the recommendations of the Senchi review of the economy and ignore proposals by the IMF.
Deputy Secretary General of the TUC, Dr. Yaw Baah, expressed this skepticism at a forum to discuss the implications of the IMF bailout on workers. He recalled the marginal decline in the subsectors of agric and services.
Citing the Greece situation, he argued that implementing IMF programmes has left most economies worse off.
Currently, government has received over 900 million dollars as bailout but says workers will not be laid off.
But organized labor says it is skeptical about government’s assurance.
“When the IMF comes into your country anything can happen. Read about Greece and what happened there. They even forced government to cut wages. Some by 25%; others by 30% and so we don’t want to take anything for granted. The IMF is an animal you can’t describe. So far we haven’t heard that government is going to declare any redundancy at least for 2015 we’ve reached that understanding. We are hoping that it will continue within the programme period”.
Director of Research and Forecasting the Ministry of Finance, Dr. Alhassan Iddrisu, insisted government will rationalize its workforce rather than resort to layoffs.
“Rationalization and by right sizing, we don’t mean that we are going to retrench. That’s not the objective at all. The objective is to improve efficiency and remember that even for labor, their primary objective is job security; but you can get job security and continue to remain in job and earn income if you sustain the single spine”.
Already, some labor unions have expressed worry that the implementation of the IMF bailout could affect workers’ salaries on the single spine salary structure.
But the Chief Executive Officer of the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission, Mr. George Smith Graham disagrees.
“We all collectively together with organized labor agree that we needed to reduce the ratio and that’s exactly what we have done. So if I look at the bailout and the objectives that I have seen, it is clear to me that the bailout is going to help us improve revenue, and if we are going to improve revenue, then it means that we are also going to help reduce the tax revenue to wage ratios”.
General Secretary of the Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union of the Trades Union Congress, ICU, Solomon Kotei, is of the view that the IMF recommendations will adversely affect workers before the second tranche of the fund is made available.
“When the cedi was dropping so high, government decided to pump in 20 million dollars every day for five days. Then from nowhere the cedi to dollar rate dropped to 2.99. But as we speak today, its 4.3. These are IMF directives so we are back to where we were about three weeks ago and we are going to sink further. And that is why some of us will never trust any IMF” he emphasized.