GPRTU Joins Strike



nii armah ashieteyThe Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), has announced it will join the Monday, November 18 strike declared by organised labour.

Making the pronouncement at a meeting in Accra yesterday, Mr. Robert Sablah, Chairman of the Greater Accra Branch of the Union said the move was in solidarity with its mother union, the TUC.

According to him the decision was communicated to the regional executives by the National Executive council (NEC) of the GPRTU and cannot be over join turned by any of the branches.

He, therefore, warned of severe sanctions against local branches who flout this directive. But the local executives at the meeting disagreed with the NEC directive, saying, the GPRTU members are not the only drivers plying the roads as such cannot park their vehicles while their competitors are at work.

According to them, they would not gain anything from the strike since those organising the strike already have their single spine waiting for them.

They have therefore called on the  NEC to reconsider its decision since the action of the TUC was smelling of political connotation.
The regional executives questioned the  whereabouts of the TUC when drivers were jailed indiscriminately between 2006 and 2008, and now that the NEC members are leaning to one side of the political divide, they want drivers who are struggling for their daily bread to leave their livelihood for their personal gain adding “it would not happen today it would not happen tomorrow.”

But Mr. Sablah concluded the meeting saying the decision of the NEC rises above any decision therefore, cannot be reversed.
The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) in September, announced a 78.9 per cent increment in electricity and 52 per cent increment in water tariffs, effective October1 last month.

Dissatisfied with the increment, organised labour issued a 10-day ultimatum to the PURC and government to reduce the tariffs or face the wrath of workers.

Following the workers agitation over the utility tariffs, the government set up a Technical Working Group (TWG) to examine the concerns of organised labour in relation to the sustainability of utility providers.

The  TWG in its report indicated that it cannot reduce the tariffs below 66 per cent in order not to negatively impact on the budget of the utility companies.

Organised labour on Tuesday October 29 called on workers in the formal and informal sectors to stay at home on November 18.  By Lawrence Akpalu

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