The Centre for Democratic Development Ghana, (CDD) has criticized the Civil and Local Government Staff Association of Ghana (CLOGSAG) for embarking on strike over the non-payment of neutrality allowance.
The Centre is suggesting that the Association rather channels its energies into demanding a level playing field regarding service conditions among public sector workers.
“I really feel CLOGSAG should be pulling back from this course of action”, says Dr. Kojo Asante, Director of Advocacy and Policy engagement at the Centre
CLOGSAG laid down their tools on Thursday April 21, 2022, following the inability of government to pay the allowance as agreed upon in January this year.
The association has already given indication that they will call off the strike on condition that government makes a commitment to pay them the allowances due them.
But CDD’s Dr. Kojo Asante believes the striking Association is on a wild goose chase.
“What they should all join hands in is this inequity excesses with conditions of service in the different public service that creates a certain unfairness. That may be affecting morale in the public sector. This is what is sustainable, the path they are going is not sustainable.”
Speaking to Citi News‘ Hanson Agyemang, Mr. Asante questioned the legality and constitutionality of the agreement on neutrality allowance.
He maintains that it was wrong for government to have considered paying an allowance of a responsibility imposed on them by the constitution.
“I am shocked that government will agree to this in the first place. I describe it as a tautology. How are you rewarding someone for something they are supposed to do as part of their responsibilities? The allowance must be declared unconstitutional. It is illegal in the first place for rewarding someone for something they are obligated to do and are paid for. It is like an unjust reward.”
The neutrality allowance is to ensure that civil and local government workers do not engage in partisanship while conducting their affairs when they are in their various offices. It is paid to them to ensure that they discharge their duties professionally without getting involved in partisan activities.
The strike and demand for the allowance has generated public debate with divided opinion on the relevance of such an allowance.
While some contend that government giving in to this demand will open the floodgate for other allowance claims from the state, some believe that such an allowance is important to keep civil and local government workers away from serving based on their political interests.
Some 36 organizations under the Public Services Workers Union (PSWU), are also making a strong case for the payment of Political Neutrality Allowance for qualified members.
The groups are demanding urgent action for the allowance to be paid.