Again, if we do not define properly the relationships, this body which is supposed to be advisory to Government would become a centre of complaints from people who have grievances; and I think that we should look at it clearly.
Again, if you look at what the hon. Member for Komenda/Edina/Eguafo/ Abirem (Dr. P. K. Nduom) raised about the Public Services Commission, some of the functions have been taken away by these Commissions, and again we need to fine- tune because some of them are of constitutional nature. I think that it is not also just an issue of creating a body, but the will to listen to that body and to take the view of that body seriously.
The example I want to give is the National Labour Commission. Most of the problems it is facing arise out of the fact that sometimes Government finds it difficult -- and I am not just talking about only the New Patriotic Party (NPP); I am talking about all governments -- to listen to impartial decisions made by the Commission. And because of this we have a lurking problem of always disagreements and strikes; some we call illegal, others we call legal.
So long as we create a Fair Wages Commission and they are supposed to review, study and bring about harmony in salary structures, we need also to allow them the independence to say to Government or to any other Public Service employer that the cannot have their way.
The political will will decide, not what is put in the memorandum as the panacea for the solution of all the problems. We are raising the hopes of workers too high and I think that we need to lower that expectation and see that this equity that
we want to have with this Commission really is realised.
But again, to emphasise that, from what
I have seen in the Report, it is now also to help in having negotiations. So you ask the question: What about the Tripartite Committee? What role would it have in this matter? So once again, I think we should look at the differences that we can iron out now so that there is no conflict after the law is passed.
Deputy Minister for Manpower, Youth and Employment (Dr. C. Y. Brempong-Yeboah): Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to make a contribution to this debate.
Mr. Speaker, until I became Deputy Minister for Manpower, Youth and Employment little did I know about the kinds of negotiations that go on between Government as employer and the unions.
Mr. Speaker, sometimes these negotia-
tions can be very turbulent; and it goes on sometimes for days, weeks and sometimes even months, resulting most of the time in increased numbers of threats from a lot of the unions.
Mr. Speaker, the Minis t ry or Govern-ment for that matter has a lot of organisations that it has to deal with virtually on annual basis when it comes to these negotiations. Within each of these unions too, we have several bran- ches, each handling its own bargaining certificate, and so on.
So it becomes very difficult for a negotiating committee at the Ministry, for example, to conclude one negotiation and move on to the other one, because sometimes a simple item like night allowance which has been agreed with one branch of the Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU) with their certificate may not necessarily be accepted by another branch of TEWU.
In fact, this creates a lot of problems for the negotiating organ at the Ministry, most of the time. So it is against this background and others that I believe that the Government's decision to come out with this Fair Wages Commission has been very timely and therefore needs to be supported.
Mr. Speaker, in 1995, as has been said, the Government of the day through the Public Services Commission, engaged the Price Waterhouse and Associates which came out with what has become known as the Ghana Universal Salary Structure (GUSS). But as we know now, the implementation of those recommendations has been fraught with various difficulties, including the lack of legal backing to some of the organs such as the CMB, and so on.
This eventually resulted also in the fact that various institutions were given a mandate to negotiate on their own and consequently in the same government sector we had situations where secretaries, for example, of the same grade working in one Ministry, like a Stenographer Secretary in the Ministry of Labour may earn about 60 per cent of what a Stenographer Secretary with the same qualifications will be earning in another government establishment.
So Mr. Speaker, it is certainly very important that we agree as a government or as a nation to put in place this body which we believe will be staffed with experts on labour issues, experts on job analysis, experts generally on wage management, and so on, to assist in the implementation of government wage policy. So I wish to take the opportunity to urge my hon. Colleagues to agree for us to come out with this Fair Wages and Salaries Commission to assist the work
that we as a nation are putting before us.