Research Assistants on Friday, the 14th day of June 2019 served appropriate notices on the leadership of Parliament through their Representatives (herein referred to as Reps) that on Thursday, the 20th day of June 2019, a massive demonstration will hit the enclaves of Parliament House, specifically the forecourt of Parliament, the precinct of Parliament and the environs of Parliament by Research Assistants to Honourable Members of Parliament whiles adhering strictly to the various provisions of the Public Order Act 1994 (Act 491).
This planned mammoth demonstration has become necessary because the Reps of the various Research Assistants in Parliament have exploited every diplomatic avenue at their disposal to get the monthly salaries of the various Research Assistants paid but all attempts have proven futile.
Many Research Assistants have not been paid salaries very close to one-year (eleven (11) months) now with others having a whooping five (5) months of salary arrears and this situation is rather worrying and appalling considering the fact that these Research Assistants are really working hard to assist their respective Honourable Members deliver on their mandate as Members of Parliament so as to improve parliamentary democracy.
Research Assistants across Parliament do not enjoy any allowance, emoluments or any other fringe benefits. They are only entitled to their monthly salaries and they have to convey themselves to work without any transport allowance as compared to other Members of Staff working in Parliament. Research Assistants rely on their salaries for all their basic needs and this very issue of non- payment of Research Assistants salaries is really affecting Research Assistants both physically and psychologically.
News making rounds suggests that some National Service personnel and persons who have not completed their National Service have been employed by Parliament and subsequently placed on the payroll system. This information was alluded by Mrs. Kate Addo on Joy FM confirming same. This is clearly not the fault of Research Assistants who have truthfully and validly gained employment. Research Assistants wish to re-iterate that they have become inundated with one technical issue after the other on why they have not been paid for the past eleven (11) months. Parliament should not claim neutrality in these matters. “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality” as championed by Desmond Tutu.
Research Assistants to the various Honourable Members of Parliament are law abiding citizens and will demonstrate same during the said demonstration exercise. The laws of Ghana clearly allows citizens to demonstrate and without prejudice to any authority in Parliament, Research Assistants do not intend to obstruct the important businesses the House may carry on the said date as the demonstration will be a peaceful one so as to get the pains and cries of Research Assistants heard as they cannot continue to suffer in silence.
Following this demonstration, Research Assistants will place themselves under advisement about whether or not to engage themselves in a possible strike action on Monday, 17th June 2019 until all Research Assistants have been fully paid to re-echo the need to be paid and on time.
Disclaimer: This demonstration is however neither directed at any sitting Member of Parliament nor the sitting Government of the day. No political motives should be impugned into this demonstration exercise. This demonstration is nothing short of a welfare issue protest.
Mahatma Gandhi once said; ‘silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly’.
It is in the light of the above that Research Assistants intend holding this demonstration to vent out their vexation and frustration.