Statement: TUC on Nkrumah's role to trade unionism
9/21/2009 11:29:00 PM -
The Current Ghana Trades Union Congress, TUC, traces its roots directly to the Nkrumah days, even if it is now operating under a different constitutional and legal framework.
Nkrumah saw in the workers movement the key transformatory force of the TUC and invested heavily in it by pursuing a vigorous policy of industrialization, job creation and education of the working people.
A statement by the TUC, and signed by it's Secretary General, Kofi Asamoah, on the occasion of the centenary of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah's birth attests to the cordial relations between the TUC and the Nkrumah government.
According to the statement relations between the TUC and the CPP government which developed during the struggle for independence, changed the industrial relations landscaped and positively affected conditions of workers in Ghana.
It said the CPP government demonstrated its commitment to the welfare of the working people by ratifying all the ILO convertions that were being applied by the colonial authorities. Out of the 47 ILO convertions that have been ratified by Ghana 34, representing 72 percent were ratified during the period 1957 and 1966, the rein of Dr. Nkrumah. According to the statement Dr. Nkrumah and his government went beyond the ratification of the convertions to ensure that workers actually enjoyed the benefits of these convertions.
It said the CPP administration also oversaw significant improvements in wages and salaries. The statement said, using the base period of 1956 the real average wage index increased from 100 to 124 in 1961.
The cost of living index also increased from 100 in 1956 to 111 in 1961.
The statement concluded that workers in Ghana got a better deal during the first republic than the colonial era during which period money wages remained unchanged for over twenty-one years in spite of the high cost of living.
The statement added that the audacious and comprehensive development plan that sought to transform Ghana from a country of shopkeeper's and consumers into a showpiece of a modern industrialized economy in Africa, a period where there would be full employment and the challenge of even shortage of labour force and the need for its importation form neighboring African countries.
In contrast today where mass unemployment, underemployment and rampant redundancy are the order of the day. His State Farms program was influenced not only by the concern for employment but the introduction of modern scientific large scale farming. This was to provide the necessary food for the country and agricultural raw material for agro-processing industry.
His Workers Brigade program was equally motivated by a commitment to create employment for working people.
The TUC salutes the memory of Osagyefo, the most outstanding African of the past millennium and his monumental achievements not only in laying the foundation for the unity of modern Ghana but equally importantly his untiring efforts towards forging the unity of Africa and people of African descent.
What we need to do as a people is to learn from these experiences, build upon the undoubtedly positive balance sheet he left us as a nation and continent and avoid the painful errors of the time.
For Ghana TUC the greatest tribute Ghana can pay Nkrumah on this Centenary Anniversary is to take seriously the implementation of his bold visionary program of transformation and development within the context of the circumstances of today.