ICU unhappy with taxes on overtime of workers

Morgan Ayawine

The Industrial and Commercial Workers Union – Ghana (ICU-Ghana) has expressed deep resentment over the continued taxes imposed on workers’ overtime income by government. The essence of workers doing overtime is basically to raise productivity of companies/organizations to meet their production target and also to earn extra money to supplement their income.

Mr. Morgan Ayawine, Acting General Secretary of ICU-Ghana disclosed this at the RegionalCouncil Executives Conference of the union in Takoradi, Western Region as part of his nationwide regional tour ahead of the union’s 11th Quadrennial delegates conference scheduled to take place at the University of Professional Studies Accra (UPSA) from 25th to 27th August, 2021.

According to Mr. Ayawine taxing of overtime income by government discourages workers from doing overtime as they see it as disincentive and thus demotivates them which ultimately impacts negatively on the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

He said ICU-Ghana has persistently advocated for the abolition of overtime tax on several platforms but both the current and past governments have not taken any action on this nuisance tax. ICU-Ghana is however appealing to the government as a matter of urgency to abolish the overtime tax forthwith.

The ICU-Ghana General Secretary further said the Banking and Financial Sector reforms undertaken by Bank of Ghana in mid-August 2017 to December 2018 as part of its regulatory crackdown took a heavy toll on businesses and labour. The advent of the lethal coronavirus (covid-19) pandemic in early 2020 he said, has worsened the plight and prospects of workers who are struggling to survive under the related protocols and restrictions.

The impact of covid-19 on labour was the huge loss of job especially in the hospitality sector and ICU-Ghana has to process their exit packages and other entitlements from Bank of Ghana. The union also went to the aid of non ICU-Ghana members who called on it to assist them in their demand for exit packages and other entitlements from Bank of Ghana.

This, he explained is a wake-up call for all workers to enroll with a trade union organization to protect their socio-economic interest. Mr. Ayawine said many organizations especially those in the private sector are operating at half of their production capacity while others have completely shut down resulting in the contraction of our socio-economic advancement.

The informal sector which is the largest of the two key sectors of the economy has not been spared. These entities which complement the effort of government in the area of job creation have indeed suffered by the negative impact of the covid-19 pandemic during the first and second wave.

The General Secretary further said these developments pose serious concerns for organized labour as the tendency of shrinking labour and unemployment challenges continue to threaten the very existence of trade unions. He said the devastating intensity of the new wave (variant) of covid-19 this year paints a gloomy picture for both business and labour than that of the 2020 version and therefore calls for extreme care and strict adherence of the covid-19 protocols at work places and homes.

He urged the conference delegates to uphold the virtues of the union in order to meet the aims, objectives and aspirations of all its members to make it the preferred trade union in Africa. He concluded that in this difficult time which we find ourselves as a nation, every effort must be made by government, employers and labour to address labour related concerns to avoid unnecessary industrial unrest at work places.

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