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You don’t negotiate with a gun on the other party’s head; labour minister tells striking public sector workers



The minister of Employment and Labour Relationships, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, has reiterated government’s firm position that it will not spend outside the national budget to satisfy members of the Civil and Local Government Staff Association of Ghana (CLOGSAG).

The minister, who doubles as the member of parliament for Tamale south, told some civil servants from the various departments and government agencies at the northern turn of Government for the People Forum(GP4) in Tamale that, in any civilized society, you don’t negotiate with a gun pointedon the head of your negotiating partner.

On Monday, Mr Iddrisu told members of CLOGSAG to call off their strike or forfeit  their August salary because government will not succumb to any pressure to reverse its decision.

According to the labour minister, social dialogue is difficult but maintained that what is not budgeted for is not budgeted. He told civil servants that, Ghana is a member of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and that government respects labour for its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

He also expressed surprise at the commentary Thursday on TV and radio in Ghana about the president comments on the almost two weeks strike by CLOGSAG members over the interim market premium (IMP).

He explained that the  president never said CLOGSAG has no case but that the president wants to maintain fiscal discipline, resist temptation of election year expenditure in order to put the economic on track to protect jobs.

The labour minister, however, gave the assurance that discussions are on going to ensure that by Monday both parties will smoke the peace pipe so that they can get back to work.

According to the minister, both government and the leadership of CLOGSAG will enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) so that workers can get back to work.

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