Union demands separate minimum wage for oil and gas workers
Posted on: 10-Jul-2013
Ghanaian union responsible for employees in the petroleum sector has bemoaned the poor remuneration of Ghanaians working in the oil and gas industry.
The General Transport, Petroleum and Chemical Workers Union of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) wants the enactment of a legislation that sets a separate minimum wage for petroleum sector workers, independent of the existing national daily minimum wage.
Senior Industrial Relations Officer, Francis Sallah, says such legislation will ensure Ghanaians in the oil industry are paid standard wages and salaries.
He says the Union needs strong legal backing to protect the interest of Ghanaian seeking to benefit from the country’s budding oil and gas industry.
Most employees in the oil sector, he noted, “do not know what their rights are and so they do anything just to earn something small” whilst the expatriates make the money and return to their home countries.
According to Mr. Sallah, some employees who were paid “ridiculously low salaries” are now receiving between Gh₵3,000 and Gh₵4,000 through the interventions of the Union.
“This is a huge sector where money flows and because you are a Ghanaian and you don’t know much about what is happening, you are paid 200 or 300 cedis. But when you have a minimum wage in the oil and gas sector, then you have a base as a Union to say this is the minimum you can pay”, he stated.
An economist with the Central University College, Deodat Adenutsi however thinks the demand for a separate minimum wage for the sector is not economically prudent.
“That will bring a lot of minimum wages into the system. For instance, those in the natural mining like gold and bauxite mining will also be calling for similar thing”, he observed.
Mr. Adenutsi enjoins the Union to rather focus on demanding the incorporation of allowances based on risk factors in the job. “They can call for a law on that but not for minimum wage”, he said.
Minimum wage is the lowest hourly, daily or monthly remuneration that employers are obliged to pay to their workers. The Daily Minimum Wage in Ghana is presently pegged at GHȻ5.24, set by the National Tripartite Committee.