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General News of Monday, 23 December 2013

Source: myjoyonline.com

Labour kicks against utility price hikes

Labour is kicking against new utility tariffs announced Monday but which will take effect in January 2014 to March 2014.

Deputy General Secretary Dr Frank Serebour of the Ghana Medical Association said the increases are baseless

His comments follow the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission's new tariff announcement of a 9.73 per cent increase in electricity as well as 6.80 per cent increase in water..

In a statement the Commission said the new tariffs were in line with the implementation of the Automatic Adjustment Formular. The hikes were occassioned by a high inflation, fall in the country's currency, increases in prices of crude oil and natural gas, the statement explained.

But the announcement has angered sections of labour.

General Secretary of the Ghana Medical Association Dr Frank Serebour told Joy News the timing of the announcement is intriguing.

He said at a time when government is contemplating freezing salary increases for public sector workers the PURC cannot be announcing utility hikes.

According to him, the new announcement completely negated the struggles and efforts labour put in to ensure that utility price hikes announced in August were reduced.

"We are back to square one," he stated, adding "we are not the least in favour of the increases."

The Ghana Federation for Labour is calling for more engagement with labour. The Labour Federation boss Abraham Koomson admitted the hikes will affect industry.

But in a reaction the Head of Public Relations at PURC, Nana Yaa Jantuah said there is very little they can do about the new increases.

She said the new hikes are only a religious implementation of the automatic price adjustment formula.

She added all stakeholders including labour, demanded the implementation of the adjustment formula and that is exactly what they have done.

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