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27.07.2005 Business & Finance

5,000 Job loses In textile, poultry and rice industry

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UNICOF Worried Over Loss Of Jobs The Union of Industry,Commerce and Finance Workers (UNICOF) has disclosed that more than 5,000 employees in the textile, poultry and rice industries have lost their jobs over the past two years.

It has expressed fears that at the current rate, the figure will hit 7,000 by the end of this year.

Mr Kofi Davoh,the General Secretary of UNICOF, said the loss of jobs had been the direct result of the gradual collapse of the textile, poultry and rice industries.

He, therefore, called for pro-active measures from the government to stem the tide.

Speaking at the founding delegates congress of UNICOF in Kumasi, Mr Davoh said the country was increasingly becoming a buying-and-selling nation, at the expense of industrial growth.

UNICOF broke away from the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU)two years ago with a vision to establish a trade union which its leaders claimed would be based on democracy,openness,accountability, teamwork and professionalism.

“We cannot open up our infant industries and expect them to compete with the giants from the Americas, Asia and Europe,as the case is at the moment.Our government needs to act now,” Mr Davoh said.

He said fingers had been pointed at high taxes and high utility tariffs as some of the unfortunate developments resulting in the collapse of the industries.

Touching on taxes on overtime for workers, the General Secretary called on the government to take a second look at taxes on overtime for workers,saying that the current policy made it a disincentive for workers to engage in overtime.

The result,he said, was that the worker used all or sometimes more of what he earned to pay taxes. Touching on Ghana Airways,Mr Davoh said UNICOF was disappointed with and concerned about the inexplicable delay by the government on the matter of severance pay negotiations for workers of the company.

He said the government,in its own wisdom,decided to round up the work of Ghana Airways,saying that it should have taken into consideration the incidental effects of such a decision.

He said UNICOF was disappointed with and betrayed by the government's latest decision at Ghana Airways' liquidation at a time when the parties concerned were at the negotiating table.

Mr Davoh said the union viewed the action of the government as a demonstration of bad faith and an attempt to twist the arm of the union in its quest for a fair and just severance package.

He appealed to the government to return to the negotiating table for the parties to reach an acceptable severance package for the workers.

Mr Davoh said UNICOF was following with keen interest the state of affairs at Ghana Agro Food Company Limited (GAFCO),where the workers had been asked to proceed home on half salary,pending the resolution of some differences between the Divestiture Implementation Committte (DIC) and the management of GAFCO.

Mr Kwasi Adu Amankwah,the Secretary General of the Trades Union Congress (TUC),said the theme for the conference,“Understanding and rewarding labour productivity:the role of the social partners”, was more relevant at a time that organised labour had placed firmly on the agenda of the National Tripartite Committee the issue of a living wage for workers.

He said it was important because a critical issue such as employment,which was usually at the core of government business, had not secured a worthy place within the macroeconomic policy framework of the government.

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