General News of Wednesday, 9 October 2013
The Secretary General of the Trades Union Congress, Mr. Kofi Asamoah says the leadership of organised labour is "fed up" with holding meetings with government when the agreements reached at those meetings are disregarded.
Mr. Asamoah's comment comes on the back of a call from government indicating its preparedness to dialogue with organised labour over workers' threat to embark on a nationwide strike, if government fails to slash utility tariff increases announced a few weeks ago, within 10 working days.
The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) approved 79 percent increase in electricity tariffs and 52 percent in water tariff with effect from October 1, 2013.
But organised labour at a press briefing Tuesday said the rates were unbearable and must be reduced to a third.
In response, government has invited the workers to a meeting and proposed the setting up of a committee to look into their concerns.
But speaking on Joy FM's Super Morning Show Wednesday, Mr. Kofi Asamoah said although workers were prepared to dialogue with government, they are less hopeful that the engagement will yield anything fruitful because similar engagements in the past have not given rise to anything substantially meaningful.
He said in 2010 when there was a similar hike in utility tariffs, organised labour met with then Vice President, now President John Dramani Mahama, and collectively agreed that tariff increases should be done in a graduated manner but for political reasons that was never done.
He told Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, host of the show: "If there is going to be a productive engagement and it will lead to what we are asking for [staggering the payment]... so that we [can] have some breath, [we are all for it]", otherwise it is difficult".
"If they invite us to a meeting, our only commitment is that we need to find solution to this problem...but the only thing is that our people are fed up with these engagements that do not bring results," Mr. Asamoah stated.
Meanwhile, labour consultant, Austin Gamey has said that the TUC's threat to embark on industrial action "may not be the best way" to get their concerns addressed.
"If government is ready [to engage and dialogue], the best way is for everybody to lay their arms down and talk," Mr. Gamey stressed.
"The most important thing is that we should allow the structures to work; without that, Ghana will not grow," he stated.