Daily minimum wage increased by 6%
Workers can smile to the bank at the end of the month as the National Tripartite Committee has approved a 6% increment in the national daily minimum wage for 2021.
Effective Friday, June 4, the implementation of the GH₵12.53 new national daily minimum wage would take effect, up from the previous GH₵11.82.
The committee, which comprises labour unions, employers and government, arrived at the new figure on Thursday, June 3.
Additionally, the committee also approved an 8% rise over the 2021 figure for the year 2022.
So, from January 1, 2022, the new national daily minimum wage for employees would be GH₵13.53.
Accordingly, the committee has asked all establishments, institutions or organisations whose daily minimum wage is below the 2021 figure to adjust it from June 4.
In a press statement announcing the new minimum wage, the committee recommended that “the national daily minimum wage should be tax-exempt.”
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy and cost of living were considered in reviewing the wage upwards,
The sustainability of businesses and desirability of attaining a high level of employment were also key determinants of the new minimum wage.
“The NTC wishes to reiterate its commitment to strengthening social partnership, industrial peace, and improvement of incomes and productivity in both the public and private sectors of the economy,” the statement said.
Earlier, the Deputy Finance Minister-designate, Abena Osei-Asare, disclosed that the NTC would conclude negotiations on the minimum wage for this year.
She said this when she appeared before Parliament’s Appointments Committee for consideration as a Deputy Finance Minister, a position if approved would be her second term.
She said, “We began the wage negotiations somewhere in February last year, but due to the lockdown, it was suspended.”
There was uncertainty in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so discussions for the 2021 minimum wage could not be completed.
According to her, there was a need for broader consultation to transition from “minimum wage to decent wage” as required by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention.
“Once we increase productivity, the wages that we pay our people will not just be a living wage but a wage that will be commiserated for work done,” She added.
No freeze in public sector wage increments – Akufo-Addo
The Technical Adviser at the Finance Ministry, Dr Samuel Nii Noi Ashong, had suggested that public sector workers expecting a huge wage increment will not get it because there was no money.
He added that the situation was likely to persist until 2024 during a discussion on the 2021 Budget organised by the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI).
“If you look at the Budget, COVID-19 is not expected to abate until the end of 2023, and we’re all looking to be tightening our belts for a while, and people should not be expecting huge wage increases in the course of the next few years. This is because we don’t have money to pay for it,” he stressed.
This resulted in agitations among workers who feared they would not see any increments as the pandemic hit hard.
However, President Akufo-Addo allayed that fear at the 11th Quadrennial Congress of the TUC, on Tuesday, March 23, 2021.
He emphasised that there would not be any freeze for public sector workers.
He then appealed to the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and organised labour to assist the government in the country’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery efforts.