TUC gives ultimatum to Government to review tariffs

By GNA
By GNA

6/30/2010 11:30:24 PM -

Kumasi , June 30, GNA - The leadership of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), has directed workers to start wearing red arm bands between now and the July 13th deadline labour has given to Government to ensure downward review of utility tariffs.

This is to send a strong signal about TUC's determination to fight the abnormal hikes in water and electricity charges.

This was at an emergency meeting held by the Kumasi Council of labour, the second in a little over two weeks on Tuesday.

Mr Kofi Asamoah, Secretary General of the TUC urged Government to demonstrate its sensitivity to the plight of workers by intervening to reduce the tariffs to a level commensurate with current income levels.

He said since Government professes to be motivated by social democratic principles, "we expect that government policies should be informed by more credible and visible initiatives that protect working people, the poor and the marginalized from the strains of the economy". Mr Asamoah said the astronomical increases could plunge local manufacturing industries into major crises and result in shut downs and layoffs.

Such a development would compound the already huge unemployment situation in the country.

He said leadership and the working people of Ghana were not against the tariff increases and that their concern was the growing tendency for government to announce increases without taking into account the prevailing low incomes in the country.

"Ghanaians are worried not by the increases per se, but by the magnitude of the increase. We believe that such sky-high increases are bound to impact negatively on the already precarious living conditions in the country".

Mr Joseph Ohene Mensah, Chairman, General Agricultural Workers Union of the Crop Research Institute (CRI), said the monopoly of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) in power distribution should end.

Again there was the need to provide pre-paid meters for all state agencies and ministries to check the soaring government's indebtedness to the ECG.

Mr Thomas Kujan-Tia, Chairman of the Kumasi Labour Council called for a united labour front and total support for the leadership.

GNA