It is that time of the year where many a labour Union will like to pressurize Government to meet its demands. It is also the season where Government is likely to make a lot of promises and agree to meet a number of demands made by labour Unions and other organizations. Already some labour organizations have announced their desire to embark on various strike actions and demonstrations.
It is worth noting that it is that era where political parties in opposition will like to take advantage of every disagreement between Government and its employees or other pressure groups in order to show that they are the best and should be given the mandate, come November, 7.
Strikes and demonstrations are some of the legitimate means by which people can register their dissatisfaction about decisions that are made by Government or people with decision making authority. It is also a means of hammering home one's needs, but when it has become a ritual where dialogue and negotiations as options have not been fully explored or exhausted, then as a country we have every reason to be worried.
In any case we all know that the real solutions are not gotten through strikes and demonstrations because no matter the number of times an organization or a group of people embark on demonstrations and strikes, the problems can only be resolved at the negotiation table.
As a country on the move, we can only continuously work towards becoming better in how issues that affect us are handled. It is due to the above reason that we have established bodies like the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission and the National Labour Commission with structures and processes that should be used in settling labour related disagreements. In order to move forward, we must respect our various institutions in charge of handling affairs at various levels knowing that strong institutions can only be built when we use due process in resolving disagreements rather than resorting to threats, coercion, strikes and demonstrations.
Government must make sure every expenditure is highly justified in this election year but must also not forget to be proactive and reasonably responsive towards the demands of its employees while maintaining the highest level of fiscal discipline.
Government must not by any means fall for the temptations that come with an election year spending on wages and salaries that are not commensurate with the level of productivity since that will leave the country in a bad financial state after the elections.
Government must be bold and decisive in carrying out its programs and projects that must go a long way to benefit the country as a whole. In fact, if there is any time where Government must hold the wires even though the heavens may fall, this is the moment. The meat must never be allowed to get to the bones again.
Employees on the other hand must be realistic in their demands and be determined to fight for what rightfully belongs to them through the existing structures.
Ghanaian workers must make sure that they obey rules and regulations particularly made for labour dispute resolutions. If we all agree for a law to be made and later seen to be circumventing and breaking it, then what is the use of promulgating the law in the first place? It is always saddening to hear leaders of worker groups boasting of their refusal to adhere to rulings given by mandated institutions for labour dispute
They must also not forget to work towards increased productivity knowing very well that to whom much is given, much is expected.
They must not use strikes and demonstrations as the major means towards hammering home their demands. They must rather tread the path of dialogue and negotiations, ready and willing to reasonably compromise.
Both government and its employees and other pressure groups must be transparent in their dealings and maintain ultimate good faith always, giving respect to the institutions and structures put in place towards resolving labour disputes.
The Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) as well as the National Labour Commission (NLC) must be well resourced and seen to be working for positive results. These bodies must be proactive and timeous in discharging their duties.
Opposition parties must not just jump into the fray and criticize, they must be able to provide viable alternatives to how problems are being handled and how they would have handled the situation if they were in government.
In all, putting Ghana first must be everyone's priority no matter where he or she stands. For that is the only way we can build the country and make decisions that are not just focused on 2016 elections but most importantly the future generation.