President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says negotiations with the National Tripartite Committee working on establishing the minimum wage for 2021 has begun.
He made the announcement when he joined organised labour to mark the National May Day celebration at the forecourt of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) in Accra.
This year’s celebration was marked under the theme: “Economic Recovery in an Era of Covid-19; The Role of Social Partners.”
Last year, the celebration was held virtually in the studios of Ghana Broadcasting Corporation in Accra, with no regional parades as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The president, who used the occasion to pay homage to the resilience of workers during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, said the government would ensure that no worker loses his or her job as a result of the economic meltdown occasioned by COVID-19.
He said the government was working to ensure that no worker was worse off as it took measures to sustain the growth and fiscal stability that the country witnessed in the three years before the pandemic struck.
President Akufo-Addo urged organised labour to work with the government and embrace the many changes that would be adopted in the effort to rebuild and develop the economy post-COVID-19.
He revealed that he had taken the decision to freeze salary increments for 2021 for himself, the vice-president, ministers, deputy ministers and all his appointees to reduce the stress on the public revenues “to help hasten our nation’s recovery”.
On the theme of the celebration, the president implored organised labour to be at the forefront of championing the wearing of face masks, as it was, for now, the most effective protection to help keep the economy open.
He said at the moment, the workplace should be the safest place because a further shutdown of businesses would spell doom for the economic recovery efforts of the government.
“The mask gives us the protection that we need to be able to go about daily life and go into our offices and factories and keep the economy open. The workplace should be a safe place, and for the moment, we all have to wear the face mask to make sure that the workplace is safe.”
“One careless person is a danger to all. Some small businesses cannot survive and recover from a shutdown,” he said, adding that it was up to workers, and the general citizenry to keep each other on the straight path and not look to the enforcement officials to prod them to do the right thing.
Nothing that the best prospect to return the economy on track was to vaccinate the adult population, President Akufo-Addo assured that the Government was working hard to secure vaccines. “So we can hope to return our country, our economy and our lives to normalcy.”
He announced that the government would take delivery of 350,000 more doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines from the WHO COVAC Facility on Tuesday, May 4, 2021, to continue the inoculation process which began earlier.
The President also disclosed that by May 15, 2021, the government would have procured some 1.3 million Sputnik vaccines from Russia to help in the determination to vaccinate 20 million Ghanaians by the end of the year.
He said the government remained hopeful to achieve the goal of vaccinating every Ghanaian in due course.
The President urged workers to embrace the dramatic changes in the work environment necessitated by the pandemic.
“We are going to redefine our understanding of the workplace. Production methods are going to have to change and be adapted, business owner management and workers will all have to work together to adjust to these new ways of doing things.
“This is the time for organised labour to be asking the hard questions and making sure it can cope with the new way of doing things,” he stressed
There must be an acceptance that the world has changed significantly and the right changes and skills required to survive must be adopted, the President said.