‘BOOMING ECONOMY WITHOUT JOBS’By Ghanaian Chronicle
5/2/2012 6:30:04 PM -
By:Michael Boateng, Sunyani
Kofi Asamoah, TUC boss
The Secretary General of the Trade Union Congress-Ghana (TUC), Brother Kofi Asamoah, has regretted that despite the laudable economic achievements made by Ghana in recent times, the fact remains that joblessness is on the ascendency in the country.
According to him, available data indicates that the country achieved the longest period of macroeconomic stability in recent economic history.
Currently, the national foreign reserves stand at $4.5 billion, whilst inflation has also been reduced to single digit.
The government has also implemented the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) pay policy, which has increased the take home pay of most government sector workers.
But, addressing this year's May Day celebration, which was held in Sunyani yesterday, Brother Asamoah contended that these achievements, though laudable, had not led to the creation of jobs in the country.
'The reality is that the unprecedented growth rate has failed to create decent jobs for Ghanaians.
Joblessness is on the rise. Nearly all new jobs are being created in the informal economy, where incomes are low and workers have very little protection from the country's labour laws,' noted Brother Asamoah.
The TUC Secretary General emphasised that the high economic growth had failed to create jobs, because the country's growth policies had been based on the exploitation of natural resources, which do not create enough jobs.
He said, 'as the oil and gas come on stream, and we achieve the highest economic growth rate, the manufacturing sector declined by about 15 percentage points in 2011.' He blamed policy makers for failing to address the monumental challenges that confront the domestic industry, compelling many of the manufacturing firms to convert their factories into warehouses, as they join the lucrative import trade.
President John Evans Atta Mills, who was present at the celebration, commended Ghanaian workers for supporting his government to put Ghana's economy on a sound footing, describing them as the lifeline of the economy. 'As a Social Democratic government, the working people of this nation are our natural allies,' he noted.
According to the President, in recognition of the supportive relationship between organised labour and the government, a number of important steps had been taken by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government in the past three years, to enhance workers' interests within the framework of Tripartitism.
He said the ratification of the Convention on Minimum Age, 1973 (No.138), which prohibits Child Labour, the Tripartite Consultation Convention, 1976 (No. 144) which encourages cooperation among government, employers and employees, as well as the Safety and Health in Agriculture Convention, 2001 (No.184), which prohibits children from undertaking hazardous work, was historic for the country.
According to President Mills, with the ratification of these three ILO Conventions, Ghana had now met all the fundamental requirements of the International Labour Organisation, and stands to receive substantial rewards from the international community in Ghana's effort to achieving decent work for labour.
He highly praised the organised unions for the choice of this year's May Day celebration theme, 'Election 2012: The Role of Workers in securing Peaceful and Fair Elections.'
He noted that the theme was a great source of encouragement to him, since he was determined, with the help of God, to do everything possible to make sure that peace reigns in the country.
He said the theme should be a blueprint for every Ghanaian, because it is a collective responsibility, as a nation, to ensure that the peace being enjoyed today is not overturned by any event.
'As a President of the Republic of Ghana, I will take all necessary constitutional steps to ensure the conduct of free, fair and transparent elections in 2012.'
In another development, William N-lanjerborr Jalulah reports from Bongo in the Upper East Region that 11 deserving workers received awards for their outstanding outputs towards the growth of their work places, and the nation at large, during the May Day celebration.
They received citations, and varied items, including rlg laptops and cell phones, and refrigerators.
The Trade Union Congress and the Civil and Local Government Staff Association of Ghana championed the awards ceremony.
Other member associations of the TUC, such as Agricultural Workers Union, Industrial and Commercial Workers Union, Health Services Workers Union, and the Ghana National Association of Teachers, took part in the celebration.
In his welcome address, the District Chief Executive for the Bongo, Clement Akugre, lamented that accommodation facilities, especially, residential accommodation, for workers continue to be a major challenge impeding the development efforts of the Assembly.
'It is sad to note that most of the workers in the district reside in Bolgatanga and commute daily to work and back,' the DCE stressed.
He said this had resulted in man-hour loss of productivity, and therefore, appealed to the government, through the Regional Minister, to consider the Bongo District as a priority district to benefit from the government's housing facility.
Speaking on the theme, the Upper East Regional Minister, Mr. Mark Woyongo, said the role of the Ghanaian worker in securing peaceful and fair elections this year was very crucial, and cannot be compromised, more particularly, in the light of the unfolding skirmishes being witnessed in the country following the ongoing biometric voter registration exercise.