Ghana’s President John Mahama, whose government has been under siege from a wave of strikes, on Wednesday asked workers to make the declaration of strike “an absolute last resort”.
Addressing the national May Day parade in Sekondi, western Ghana, he said the declaration of a strike must not be an option of first resort.
“We must turn to strikes only when everything else has failed. Let us all play by the rules,” he said.
Doctors and pharmacists in public health facilities are on strike, university lecturers and teachers have just called off their strikes while some polytechnic teachers and civil servants are also threatening to strike over money.
President Mahama said it was his duty to “prevent the public sector wage bill from spiraling out of control”, adding that “any dislocation of our macro-economic environment will hit workers hard and our ordinary citizens in the same vain”.
The government has said public sector wage gobbles about 60 per cent of government revenue and this cannot be sustained.
He urged organised labour to help the government spread the tax net to generate more revenue and asked workers to faithfully pay their taxes to enable government to generate adequate revenue to pay decent wages.
A new daily minimum wage of 5.24 Ghana cedis (about US$ 2.72), went into effect on Wednesday.
The new wage, which is up 17 per cent, was agreed by the National Tripartite Committee (NTC) on Tuesday.
A communique said “any establishment, institution or organisation whose daily minimum wage is below the new national daily minimum wage should adjust its wage upward accordingly”.