The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has bemoaned the widening income gaps in the country in favour of a tiny section of the population and called on the Government to be fully committed to the implementation of the various policy measures in the 2007 Budget to reduce the inequality.
Speaking at the annual TUC and Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) interaction on Thursday, Mr Kwesi Adu-Amankwah, Secretary General of the TUC, said the Union and its affiliates would support the implementation of measures to reduce the growing inequality in the society.
He said only a fraction of the population was benefiting from the improvement in the economy, especially the low rate of inflation and stability of the currency, as the majority of the working population earned incomes below the two-dollar-a-day internationally recognized poverty line.
The measures to correct these inequalities include the establishment of Fair Wages Commission to administer the new Comprehensive Pay Structure in the Public Service and the preparation of a National Social Protection Strategy (NSPS) to provide social grants to the extremely poor.
Others include the programme of action on the elimination of worst forms of child labour in the cocoa industry; finalizing the policy on the aged and establishing the National Council of Persons with Disabilities.
The General Secretary's end of year statement discussed major topics including re-denomination of the cedi; public sector wages; end of Ghana's relationship with the International Monetary Fund (IMF); living wage and the Fair Wages Commission; employment; payment of severance award and relations between organised labour and the media.
Mr Adu-Amankwah said the figures announced in the Budget indicated that Ghana's economic performance continued to improve in spite of shocks of high oil prices earlier in the year. He said inflation remained relatively low; the cedi had stabilized and GDP was projected to grow at 6.2 per cent and the country's debt had reduced to sustainable levels.
Touching on the public sector wages, he said the TUC was ready to work with the Government to take a decisive and long lasting action to rationalise the issue once and for all and that workers continued participation would depend on the condition that workers' rights would not be violated and no predetermined policy framework would be imposed on them.
On the re-denomination of the cedi, he said the initiative was in the right direction, but would require intensive public education to reduce possible confusion.
Mr Adu-Amankwah said 673 railway workers, who were laid off since October 2006, had not been paid their severance award and urged the Ghana Railway Company to make all efforts to pay them their outstanding balance.
He saluted the media for their continued contribution to the development of democracy in the country and urged them to further develop the standard of service delivery to deepen their contribution to democracy.
Mr Adu-Amankwa said there was the need to pay greater attention to specialized reporting by establishing labour desks in all the media houses to properly inform the public on labour issues.
Mr Ransford Tetteh, GJA President, said the forum had been a useful tool of dialogue between the two organizations that took critical look at what had happened during the year and to chart a path for the future.
He called for the assistance of TUC to resolve the problem of non-payment of subvention to the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation by the Government to enable them to perform their duties effectively.