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Opinions of Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Columnist: Andrews Krow

My Comrade and brother Dr Baah (the TUC boss) spoke well but....

The President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo today attended his first May Day anniversary and it was a colourful occasion.

The General Secretary of the TUC Dr Baah delivered a speech on behalf of workers in Ghana and officially initiated the new President into the workers fellowship as the first worker of the land.

Dr Baah who recently took over from Comrade Asamoah,is one of the leaders I admire and respect so much in the country and my admiration of him surged up when we met at Senchi ( Economic Forum).

I was on the same committee with Dr together with Comrade Asamoah,Dr Y Amoako,Prof Addai,Prof Addae ( former vice Chancellor UG) and other distinguished personalities.

Dr Baah who was the committee's secretary, exhibited real academic prowess and professional competence from the first day to the plenary. I listened to my brother today and usual of our TUC leaders,he laid bare certain issues which militate against workers productivity and other pertinent issues.

That notwithstanding, my brother disappointed me with some of his assertions and facts.

According to my comrade, after independence Ghanaians expected improvement in their lifestyle but were disappointed by their leaders and went on to paint what I will term,gloomy picture about our situation tracing it from the period of independence.

I don't think my brother treated Nkrumah and some of our past leaders fairly at all.What Nkrumah did for this great nation is still fresh in our minds,his projects are still visible for us to see and we are still surviving on projects he bequeathed to the generation.

Nkrumah collaborated effectively with the TUC and the TUC at a point operated as one of the wings of Nkrumah's government this relationship was what create the friction between the TUC and the Busia administration.

Nkrumah did not only focus on our local TUC,but extended his support to all trade unions on the continent culminating into the birth of Organisation of African Trade Union Unity.

His position was that the growth of African Trade Unionism is linked up with the future of Africa and said, for,such a dynamic force,allied to political action,is the surest means of ending colonialism,neo colonialism and exploitation since it will stimulate the masses of Africa to greater awareness of their right and responsibilities.

I am happy the TUC boss has absolute confidence in the current administration and holds the view that this administration is coming with a magic wand to wipe away all the negatives he enumerated in his speech afterall the basic fact is that there should always be full consultation and mutual understanding between national governments and trade unions but the fact still remains that had it not been the courageous stance leaders before him such as Tettegah,Adu Amankwa and others exhibited during their stewardship,the trade Union wouldn't have existed for him to lead.

I know my brother has not forgotten this famous statement by Busia when decided to disband the TUC and I quote ????????????????" No Court can enforce any decision that seeks to compel the govt to employ or deploy" unquote.

Busia repealed the compulsory TUC membership for civil servants which shrunk the TUC from 700,000 to about 300,000 and the period between 1966 and 1969 saw a large number of unauthorized strikes because of how the anti- TUC elements treated the Union.

Bad economic policies implemented by the Busia administration led to heavy inflation and when the TUC leadership requested for salary adjustment to meet the situation, he cleverly constituted a salary review commission but deliberately did not implement the commission's proposals.

I hope Dr Baah listened attentively to the President responding to his demands.I am herein respectfully, entreating my comrade to compare what Nana Addo said to this famous statement by Busia when same demands were put before him and I quote"My government will exercise the right to employ only those whom it wishes to employ "unquote.

After the 2016 election, one major issue I have consistently insisted the NDC immediately think about, is its relationship with its natural allies such as the TUC,The GPRTU, etc and I hold this position for good reasons.The labour party which shares same ideological philosophy with the NDC,was formed when a labour representative was formed and was originally based on trade Unionism and socialist societies.

The trade Union funded the Labour Party's activities from funds obtained from the unions and it is so with many social democratic political organisations across the globe.The irony is that Buhari for instance naturally should have been a natural ally of the NDC because of similarities in his ideological philosophy and that of the NDC

The President Nana Akufo-Addo made it clear in his speech his government's position on employment creation and its determination to develop the private sector instead of focusing on the public sector. That is the core orientation of the capitalists and this is what labour unions across the globe are fighting against. Capitalism is killing unionism and the leadership in this country must have that in mind.

The private sector according to the capitalists should be the engine of growth but have we critically assessed how this deceitful philosophy is being used to exploit the masses? How many of our people die as casual workers after working for years in our private institutions,how proprietors of our private organisations deny them incentives they deserve and retire with nothing to survive on.These are the issues my brother must avert his mind on.

Comrade mentioned bad roads and lack of other social amenities.I don't think Ghanaians will ever be content with what they have till our God Lord comes down.One of the major policies of the Trump administration is infrastructure development, Theresa May recently mentioned same despite the wonderful structures in these countries,the world bank reminded African leaders that Africa needs $90 billion annually the next twenty years to reduce its infrastructure deficit this fact supports comrade Baah's assertion that we are lagging behind in terms of infrastructure development.But our situation shouldn't deny past leaders the commendation they deserve for reducing the deficits they inherited.

If it is about government creating jobs to absorb part of our unemployed youth, then Comrade Baah should have courageously praised the last administration for the Komenda Sugar Factory, the Tema Shipyard etc.The last administration reduced significantly our road deficit and repaired many of our bad roads, accident on the Accra- Kumasi road has reduced because of the repair works, traveling from the Western Region to Accra and beyond has become one of pleasure and comfort and every part of the country saw major development in terms of infrastructure development something the opponents of the last administration commended.

Comrade Baah himself made this emphatic statement when leadership of the TUC visited President Mahama at the flagstaff house and I quote????????????????????????"
“We have seen all the infrastructural developments that have been carried out under your leadership -roads, bridges, airports, schools, sea ports, rural electrification, energy and job-creation programme" unquote.

The basic philosophy underlying operations of the TUC is workers welfare and government taking centre stage in developmental agenda of the country and Comrade after commending the Mahama administration for its achievements in the area of infrastructure improvement, went on further to say this.

"In addition to the projects, Dr. Baah said the Union had taken note of the government’s plans to increase jobs under the Youth Employment Agency from the current 100,000 to 400,000, and the plan to increase funding for the Youth Enterprise Support programme from GH¢10 million to GH¢100 million next year.

“These initiatives would go a long way to address the acute joblessness among young people in Ghana,”

I told a friend who heads of the civil society organisations that may be President Mahama was able to achieve what his ardent critics even acknowledge because of the pressure his critics and opponents exerted on his and his administration.I think it will be in the interest of the TUC and workers in general including our civil society organisations and political social commentators to begin reminding the new administration that it has a duty to perform than the groveling I we are witnessing.

Ending, I must say I still have absolute confidence in the leadership of the TUC and the NDC,the CPP,the PNC,the PPP and all the parties inclined to the left and the TUC must see themselves as. Comrades in arms and partners in development and these parties must give serious attention to the role of trade unionism in the coming years.