Staff of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) yesterday downed their tools as they embarked on a three-hour demonstration in line with an earlier hint to protest against government’s decision to cede the company to a private investor.
The in-house protest, which started at 8am, came to an end at 11am as announced by leadership of the workers at a press conference in Accra on Tuesday and is expected to be continued this morning and tomorrow same time.
According to the workers, the three-day demonstration was the first in series of events scheduled to ensure the ceding of the company never materialised.
The industrial action left the offices of the ECG across the country inactive for the period as the workers push their demand for the abrogation of the planned concession which is at an advanced stage.
At the Avenor sub-station in Accra for instance where The Ghanaian Times monitored the demonstration, the workers were clad in red and brandished placards with inscriptions which depicted their disagreement to the deal.
Some of the placards had inscriptions such as “We no go agree”, “ECG is our treasure”, “Don’t render us jobless”, “Stop the concession now” , ”Think of the poor”, among others amidst drumming and dancing to patriotic songs. The workers numbered about 50.
Some of the workers, who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of victimisation, told The Ghanaian Times that ceding the ECG to a private investor was not in the interest of the state.
According to one worker, “the deal would only lead to job losses and higher tariffs. The private firm is in this agreement because of profit motives so imagine what would be the end result of this deal”.
Another worker said they would continue to demonstrate till the government rescinded its decision even if it meant staying away from their duty posts.
The ECG, led by the Public Utilities Workers Union (PUWU), at the press encounter called on government to review the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact which seeks to give up the ECG to private investors for a period of 25 years.
But it appears the deal is now cast in stone.
President John Mahama at an event in Accra in June, said government would go ahead with the concession of the ECG in spite of the opposition, and urged the workers of the company to prepare their minds for the deal.
Under the agreement, the concessionaire would operate, maintain and invest in the distribution assets of the ECG, under a lease and assignment agreement.
By Julius Yao Petetsi