Tension is brewing in Ghana’s Parliament as Members of Parliament tussle with their Research Assistants following payment of salary arrears of the latter.
The Research Assistants to the lawmakers, according to sources, had not been paid for some years now and were being supported by the legislators.
However, the House had cleared the salary arrears of the assistants from July 2018 prompting the MPs to demand repayment of the support they gave them in times of distress.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the RAs said the MPs are using their influence to take the monies from them “under the pretext of the need to sort out officials they personally engaged prior to the appointment of these assistants”.
This is causing widespread agitation and uneasiness among these Assistants who see this deliberate act to deny them their due as unfair treatment.
Parliament had set standards that place their minimum qualification at a 1st Degree, 2nd Class Upper or Masters Degree. This had resulted in MPs having to find alternatives to earlier Personal Assistants who were not qualified under the criteria set by the Parliamentary Services to be employed, sources say.
The Research Assistants are calling on the Parliamentary Service board to intervene.
When contacted, some MPs confirm the news but claim they signed an undertaken with their Research Assistants to “refund the support” they gave to them when the arrears are paid.
“Some of the assistants were being owed for well over two years and all these supports were coming from us with the intention that they’ll refund after payment is made. So it’s nothing strange,” an MP said.