The International Workers Day (May Day) that is observed globally on 1st May every year in solidarity with the workers’ front has taken place, and Ghana is no exception.
The General Secretary of the Industrial and Commercial Union-Ghana (ICU-Ghana), Mr. Solomon Kotei, has sent ICU-Ghana’s heartfelt message to its huge membership as follows:
“Fellow workers, the current business environment as imposed by negative impacts of the global covid-19 pandemic has called upon both workers and employers to see the need for mutual sacrifices so as to sustain businesses and retain jobs.
“It is heart-breaking that since the advent of COVID-19 thirteen months ago, a lot of businesses have been operating at half-capacity while others have completely shut down. Similarly, a lot of workers have lost their jobs and means of livelihood. Other workers, too, who have had the privilege of being retained in their jobs, have had their wages slashed by half.
“This is having a very serious effect on the ability of workers and their families to make ends meet. That apart, it is having a negative impact on the country’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP); thus destabilising the national economy.
“As workers, growth and development of the national economy rests on our shoulders, and so it is time to sacrifice – not as at the time of dignified labour with no proportional reward that went to enrich the class of business owners only – but this time round as a patriotic duty to rebuild our economy.
“We are duty-bound to do this because we are not doing to ourselves alone but also for posterity; and posterity will not forgive us if we fail to work hard to resuscitate the national economy. To our employers and social partners, we appreciate the sacrifices you have also made during the COVID-19 pandemic and its negative impact on your businesses, and for keeping faith with workers.
“However, to our employers who are unsympathetic to the plight of workers, we admonish them to be measured in demanding their pound of flesh from their workers in the spirit of industrial harmony and democracy when workers fall foul of rules and regulations.
“We however wish to put it on the record that labour also has made huge sacrifices in terms of shelved negotiations for collective agreements since 2019 – and workers going for 0%, resulting in workers forgoing wages/salaries increment and other contractual benefits over the period; all in the best interests of sustaining enterprises.
“We therefore trust that in the spirit of reciprocity, when normal times come, employers will be readily rewarding all the sacrifices workers have been making over the period with optimal contractual benefits as normal collective agreement negotiations resume. Indeed, COVID-19 continues to take lives and livelihoods; therefore, all ICU-Ghana members should strictly observe all the protocols wherever they may be.”