Dissatisfaction over new minimum wage

Hundreds of workers demonstrated on Tuesday in Ghana's capital, Accra, against a new minimum wage announced last week by government.

The protesters started out from the offices of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and presented a memorandum to the Minister of Manpower Development and Employment, Cecilia Bannerman, who promised to forward it to the relevant authorities. The placard-bearing demonstrators wore red bands and chanted war songs, but the protest was peaceful.

TUC Secretary-General Kwasi Adu-Amankwah said they were protesting against government’s “unilateral declaration of the new minimum wage” while negotiations were still ongoing. The declaration had undermined attempts by the workers to seek a higher wage, he added. “The action was a lack of respect for the ordinary Ghanaian workers,” another demonstrator told IRIN.

Announcing the new wage on Friday, Finance Minister Yaw Osafo-Maafo announced the new minimum wage of 9,000 cedis (about US $1.05) per day on Friday, saying that it represented an increase of 26 percent over the previous one. However, it was rejected by the TUC and unions representing civil servants and teachers.

The unions, who had been negotiating with the government for a higher wage under the banner of the National Tripartite Committee, said they would continue pressing for a 68-percent increase.