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08.09.2005 General News

Let's organise ourselves - TUC


Accra, Sept. 8, GNA- Mr Kwasi Adu-Amankwa, Secretary General of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) of Ghana on Thursday urged traders, especially hawkers to keep their surroundings clean since their activities contributed substantially to the filth in the urban centres. He also urged them to plan towards their pensions by contributing to the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) as well as the National Health Insurance Scheme.

Mr. Adu-Amankwa who was speaking at the first delegates' conference of Streetnet Ghana Alliance also asked the traders to organise themselves into groups and associations that will help champion their cause.

"The organisation of individuals into groups and associations, gives them a voice to deal with authority," he said adding that once they were organised they could get representation anywhere they wanted. Streetnet Ghana Alliance, an affiliate of the TUC is an organisation of street vendors, hawkers and peddlers.

The conference is under the theme: "Giving Voice to Unprotected Workers in the Informal Economy".

Mr. Adu-Amankwa told the delegates that beyond getting a voice, there was the opportunity for them to assist themselves through self-help projects as well as seek protection under the laws of the land.

He said out of an estimated population of eight million working Ghanaians, the informal sector contributed about 80 per cent of the work force for which members needed to organise themselves. Mr Francis X. Owusu, Chairman, Streetnet Ghana Alliance said the goal of the association was to empower the street vendors by developing new ideas that would help promote and advocate a policy for street hawking in Ghana.

"We hope this policy when it comes into being, would bring some decency into our streets instead of the daily harassment in the cities," he said.

Mr Owusu expressed worry about the number of people doing business on the street in Accra saying, "our cities are getting choked with street vendors everyday as a result of unreliable planning."

"The policy will therefore tell us the number of people permitted to hawk at any given time," he said.