Govt releases funds for Railway workers

Railway workers on Friday called off their strike because the government has released GHc2.9 million for the payment of salary arrears to staff of the Ghana Railway Company Limited (GRCL).

A statement to The Ghanaian Times, signed by the General Secretary of the Ghana Railway Workers Union (GRWU), Mr. Godwill  Ntarmah, at the weekend, and   copied to the Executive Secretary of the National Labour Commission (NLC) said  normal train services begins  today.

The decision of the workers, it said, was due to the release of part of government’s financial support by the Ministry of Finance (MOF) to the Controller and Accountant General’s Department for the  payment of salaries in arrears to  the workers.

The statement added :“ It is our wish that the  Ministry  of Finance will take the necessary steps to release the  outstanding financial support and subsequent ones  on time to avert any  unpleasant  situation in future.”

The railway workers thanked the NLC and all stakeholders for the role they played in ensuring the release of the amount, expressing their desire to continue to co-operate with government to find a lasting solution to challenges facing the railway sector.

Mr. Ntarmah told the Times that the  monthly support totalled GHc900,000, explaining that the GHc2.9 million paid  was  up to August, 2016.

He said: “That is what has been signed by the MOF to the Controller to be released to the GRCL to pay the salary arrears. We are in September and don’t know if all bills have been sent to MOF.”

It will be recalled that, the GRWU, from September 1 , hoisted  red bands at the offices of the GRCL  and all passenger  trains  in Accra from September 12, expressing its  worry about the accumulation of  monthly financial  supports, salaries, SSNIT contributions, declaring  that they  can  no more cope with the situation.

A letter dated  August 8, and signed  by Mr Ntarmah, and   copied the  Chief of Staff, stated that: “We have arrived at this decision because we believe the Ministry of Finance is insensitive to the plight of Railway workers whose salaries are nothing to write home about. We have been very co-operative with the government and we think the situation cannot be the same forever whilst our workers continue to suffer.”

The GRCL had made series of engagements with officials of the Ministries of Transport and Employment and Labour Relations in connection with the non-release of financial support to the Ghana Railway Company Limited since January 2016.

From Clement Adzei Boye, Takoradi

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