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22.06.2004 General News

TUC Boss speaks on workers' agitation

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Ho, Jun 22, GNA - Mr Kwasi Adu-Amankwah, TUC Secretary-General on Tuesday said increased workers agitation to draw concessions from government during election year should not be seen as malevolence but strategic.

He said if workers were not asking for the impossible then it was only right that, "they get the politician when you get him right; I don't have any apologies for the timing."

Mr Adu-Amankwah, who was addressing the Delegates Conference of the Volta Regional Council of Labour said politicians must be made to honour their promises and that workers who have worked hard, could extract concessions from them when they (Politicians) needed them most. The two-day conference, which is being attended by 85 delegates from all the 13 District Council of Labour (DCLs), was convened to discuss the forthcoming quadrennial congress draft policy document and proposed amendments to the TUC constitution.

Mr Adu-Amankwah said the new labour law, which has introduced an element of pluralism in representation was a "definite challenge" to the TUC, which could now be in competition with other bodies for membership. He said affiliate bodies of the TUC must take a fresh look at their focus and expand their reach.

Mr Adu-Amankwah said currently about 80 per cent of the estimated eight million workers in the country operated outside the domain of the labour unions.

He called for strengthening of unions at the local levels to attract more members, reminding the conference that under the current labour dispensation it was the most representative of the unions, which would be given the bargaining power.

On incomes, Mr Adu-Amankwah conceded that, they remained low and asked the delegates to discuss, among other things, wage disparities and whether benefits and service conditions were too many.

The TUC Secretary-General reminded the delegates that wage levels should always be determined by productivity levels.

Mr Adu-Amankwah said national peace was basic to the sustenance of democracy and economic growth, saying, that ethnicity should never be an issue in national affairs as it could destroy all gains made over the years as in some neighbouring countries.

Other issues he tabled to be discussed by the delegates were the health insurance, social security and pensions, end-of- service benefits and housing and inequities in world trade.

Mr Maxwell Akoto-Mireku, Volta Regional Secretary of the TUC urged the representatives of the various DCLs to endeavour to make their unions better than they met them.