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18.08.2005 General News

TDCL gives govt a month grace period

Ghanaian Chronicle

The Tema District Council of Labour (TDCL) on Monday gave a one-month ultimatum to the government to phase off the overtime tax or face its wrath.

According to the Tema workers, government was taking them for a ride because they do not understand why after taking huge sums of money from their employers by way of taxes, it was bent on collecting one-third of the total overtime work they do.

They said the action of the government has pushed them to the wall that they are unable to take care of their families.

The vociferous and placard carrying workers gave the ultimatum in a meeting with the tripartite committee, represented by Mr. Kofi Adda, Minister of Employment (for government), Mr Kofi Asamoah (for labour) and Ms Rose Annan (for employers).

This was after a planned demonstration by the TDCL was suspended following an appeal from the tripartite committee last Tuesday to pave the way for further dialogue on the demands of the Tema workers.

Reports say the TDCL last Tuesday held a nine-hour meeting with the tripartite committee where they appealed to them to convince their members to call off the planned demonstration.

The leadership of the workers were not prepared to do that due to the fact that when on 27th of last month they pleaded on behalf of government they were accused by their members of having gone to bed with the government, a charge that prompted the tripartite committee to schedule the meeting to meet the workers themselves.

The workers also raised other issues of concern to them, including the downward trend of the textile industry, problems confronting the poultry industry, the deteriorating metal or steel industry and the increase in petroleum products without correspondent increase in salary.

Responding to the grievances of the workers, the Minister of Manpower, Youth and Employment said government would critically look into the demands of the workers with the hope of finding a permanent solution for it within the stipulated one month.

He said that when he was made the minister of employment, he was tasked to ensure that he secured jobs for Ghanaian workers to prevent unemployment in the country.

Deputy minister of Trade and Industry,Kofi Osei Ameyaw, addressing the issues on the textile industry, disclosed that the textile industry would not collapse and that very soon it will be back on its feet.

He explained that his ministry had the opportunity to interact with managements of some textile companies in the country and according to him they were looking for was a level playing ground and not a complete ban of imported textile products.

He said government has presently instituted measures to enable local textile manufacturing industries compete with imported textile products.

He said government has now banned the importation of the products through the borders and increased the present tax on the products by 300 percent.