Organised Labour Has Genuine Case
Last Wednesday, workers across the country, otherwise known as organized labour, embarked on a nationwide demonstration to drum home their dissatisfaction over the Energy Sector Levies Act 2015, as well as hikes in electricity and water tariffs.
Across the country, from Tamale, Wa, Kumasi, Takoradi, Ho, Sunyani, Aflao, Cape Coast to Accra and Tema, Ghanaian workers, clad in red T-shirts and red bands poured onto the streets to demonstrate.
The demonstration, according to Kofi Asamoah, Secretary General of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) was to impress upon the government to come out with practical solution to the problems the two parties (government and organized labour) had tabled for discussion.
Mr. Asamoah noted that, so far; “nothing concrete in relation to what the government could accommodate in relation to the reduction in the taxes and levies that was placed on the table for discussion,” has been arrived at.
According to The Chronicle correspondent in Wa, George Kofi Mude-Upper West Regional Secretary of the TUC called on the government to slash the increment in utility tariffs by 50 percent for both electricity and water.
He also advised the government to withdraw the Energy Sector Levies Act (Act 899, 2015), which implementation occasioned the steep increases in petroleum prices at the time crude oil prices were tumbling on the international market and exchange rate of the Ghana Cedi appears stable.
In Accra, Francis Barkwa-immediate past Chairman of the Judicial Service Association of Ghana (JUSAG) bemoaned government's dereliction of the plight of the Ghanaian worker and warned that: “if the President fails to listen, he does so at his own peril”.
He emphasized; “The government is there for us. You brought the increment and we say we cannot pay; as a listening government, you must do something about it. Even oil prices have gone down, but he's gone ahead to increase the prices of fuel. All we are saying is that we cannot pay”.
Kofi Asamoah, addressing the workers, said even though they are aware that it is the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which is coercing government to increase the utility tariffs, the President must take into consideration the implications of his actions.
“We would like to draw your attention to the social and political implications of such actions that are completely divorced from the realities facing most Ghanaians”, Mr. Asamoah pointed out.
The TUC Secretary General called for the complete withdrawal of the Energy Sector Levies Act (Act 899, 2015), adding that he blamed the Act on the “steep increases in petroleum prices at a time crude oil prices are tumbling on the international market, and exchange rate of the Ghana Cedi is relatively stable.”
From the above narrations, it is very clear that Ghanaian workers are very much aggrieved as a result of the current economic situation and, therefore, the earlier something was done about it, the better.
The Chronicle is, therefore, adding its voice to the call by organized labour on government to heed their appeal and do something about the plight of the suffering masses in the country.
For all intent and purposes, The Chronicle, is of the belief that one does not need a Prophet to tell him that the economic situation in the country is in a very bad shape and that, the reduction in the utility tariffs will go a long way to cushion the people.
Mr. President, please be a listening government and heed to the call of the suffering masses, especially given the fact that despite all these increases, salary levels remain unchanged, an issue Ghanaians find difficult to fathom.
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