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General News of Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Source: GNA

Government given ultimatum by organized labour

Sunyani, June 30, GNA - The National Steering Committee of organized labour has given the government ultimatum to respond to the Ghana Trade Union Congress (GTUC) recent press statement on utility tariff increases to avoid imminent mass street demonstration or industrial action. The organized labour comprising all national unions that form the TUC has asked all members nationwide to wear red bands to work in anticipation of a response from the government by July 13 concerning the sharp increases in utility tariffs in the country as announced by the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) about a month ago.

This ultimatum was given on Tuesday in Sunyani at an emergency meeting of the Sunyani Municipal Council of Labour addressed by Mr. Daniel Ayim Antwi, General Secretary of Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU). The meeting simultaneously held in all regional capitals aimed at reminding the government to ensure that the exorbitant increases of water and electricity tariffs would be reviewed to realistic and affordable levels taking into account the low incomes of the general populace. Mr. Antwi warned the situation would add to the unemployment problems of the country as some private business concerns and industrial establishments were already complaining that if the utility price hikes were not adjusted reasonably they would have no alternative than to lay off workers to enable them to meet cost of production.

He said since the TUC issued the press statement on June 2, the PURC had met them twice but nothing positive had come out of those meetings, adding that the government had kept quite and not seen the need to respond positively.