pThe National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the Ghana Railway Workers Union (GRWU) of the Ghana Railway Company Limited (GRCL) took place here, with a call on government to complete the construction of the standard gauge on the Western Rail Line.
The GRWU said that the change from the narrow gauge to standard gauge on that line would help expand and increase volume of freight, and improve the economic fortunes of the company.
The GRWU took stock of its activities and briefed members on the current trend of the company.
The General Secretary of GRWU, Mr Godwyll Ntarmah, noted the rehabilitation of the existing narrow gauge from Kojokrom into Tarkwa, but, asked the Ministry of Railways Development as matter of urgency to complete the Western Rail line.
“Though we are aware that a section from Kojokrom in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis to Manso has been given on contract to Amandi Construction for the standard gauge construction, we believe a completion of a contract for the entire Western Rail line would be more assuring,” he said.
Mr Ntarmah indicated that the new standard gauge line would facilitate the transportation of bauxite, manganese and cocoa and provide job opportunities, stressing that the operation of GRCL could not be sustained without haulage of commodities.
Additionally, he said, a revamped Western Rail line would sustain the GRCL, and ensure the longer lifespan of roads, as pressure on them would be reduced.
Mr Ntarmah said it would also reduce road accidents, adding that it was important that GRCL diversify its operations in the haulage of freights.
He indicated that, “It is our hope and prayer that all efforts will be made to ensure they complete the Western Rail line, to enable GRCL play its rightful role in the economy of Ghana. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has stated that one of the tragedies of post- colonial era was the neglect of the railway network.”
The General Secretary of GRWU complained that salary levels of GRCL workers were low, which did not attract the best calibre of personnel, and appealed to the President to consider the plight of railway workers.
“GRCL was a limited liability company, fully owned by the state, and, therefore, the state has an obligation toward the welfare of its workers,” Mr Ntarmah observed.
He appealed to board of directors of GRCL to discharge their mandate effectively and cooperate with the union, to ensure the success and welfare of the workers.
Mr Ntarmah said he was happy that the Railways Act 2008 (ACT 779), which established the Ghana Railways Development Authority (GRDA), to promote the development of railways and rail services was being reviewed and urged the ministry “to do whatever it takes for the review to be a reality”.
The acting Managing Director of GRCL, Mr John Essel, applauded the workers and union for their support.
The Chief of Kojokrom, Nana Panyin Yena, also a former railway worker, urged GRCL staff to work harder to improve productivity.
FROM CLEMENT ADZEI BOYE, TAKORADI