The Trade Union Congress (TUC) is calling on government to pay urgent attention to concerns raised by organized labour in their last engagement with government in the interest of peace to promote economic growth.
According to TUC, key among the solicited concerns and challenges of all organized labour groups that require urgent attention from government included pension and lumpsum top-up, establishment of national unemployment insurance, delays in the negotiation of national minimum wage and base pay for public sector workers, need for review of labour laws to protect workers, and training & retraining of workers who have lost their jobs.
Other pertinent concerns raised were: non-payment of SSNIT contribution by some employers, threats of import restrictions on Ghana’s cocoa by the European Union, introduction of new taxes and increase in existing ones which impose additional burden on motorists and push prices of basic items, and housing for workers, among others.
Speaking at this year’s celebration of May Day, under the theme: ‘Economic recovery in an era of COVID-19; the role of social partnership’, Secretary General of TUC, Dr Yaw Baah, indicated that some of the concerns raised above were those solicited from all organized labour groups ahead of the May Day celebration and are current challenges of workers that must be addressed swiftly.
He urged government to pay more attention to these and other issues in the interest of peace at the labour front as a catalyst for stronger social partnership, and social & economic development of the country.
“We want to focus our attention on economic recovery and how, together with government and businesses, we can fast-track Ghana’s economic recovery in terms of growth and employment creation. We are placing special emphasis on the role of social partners i.e., government, businesses and workers, because we believe strongly that we can bring our economy back to the pre-pandemic growth path if we deepen social partnership and work together,” he said.
He also emphasized that it is evident that all social partners have to sacrifice at this stage of the economic recovery, and organized labour is ready to play its role in the collective effort toward the economic recovery.
However, it expects that all partners should benefit from the results when the country has recovered from the pandemic and for that matter, organized labour expects to be compensated with improvement in wages and productivity in both private and public sectors as an integral part of government’s strategy for the economy recovery.
President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in his address and response to TUC’s request at the same event, indicated that government will establish the first unemployment insurance scheme by end of 2021, to be championed by the social partnership council with the initial seed fund from government.
He further emphasized that a tripartite committee has been establish to address the concern of TUC in relation to the negotiation of national minimum wage and base pay for public sector workers, with a definite conclusion to be arrived at soon.
“The first unemployment scheme seeded by government is being championed by the Social Partnership Council and is to be established by year end. We will also use this year to ensure that all workers are vaccinated to protect their lives and enhance productivity,” he said.