ICU advocates national summit on power crisis

Mr. AyawineThe Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union (ICU), has advocated a national summit to help resolve the energy crisis which has become a permanent feature.

The ICU, according to a speech delivered by Morgan Ayawine, Deputy General Secretary (Operations), was of the opinion that a summit, would bring stakeholders together to interact, deliberate and share ideas on the way forward to deal with the crisis.

Mr Ayawine, who was addressing workplace executives at the ICU Greater Accra Regional Council General Meeting in Accra on Friday, said such a summit could bring experts who have remained aloof to the challenges under one umbrella, to help bring a workable solution to solve the problem.

He said the recent launch of a national employment policy was a laudable idea, however, the energy crisis could subdue the objective of the policy.

“The energy crisis vis-à-vis the launch of the national employment policy, creates an interesting dichotomy that calls for a very serious reconciliation and synergy for job creation to benefit the teaming unemployed youth in the country,” he said.

Mr Ayawine said in order to get the national employment policy effectively implemented, the supply of energy to propel industries that would create jobs is indispensable.

“We therefore call upon the government to put in place the necessary measures to bring the energy crisis to a halt, after which it can then see its way clear for the effective implementation of the policy” he said.

He said as the situation stands now, the marrying of the energy crisis with the implementation of the national employment policy, would create quite an incongruous relationship that cannot work.

“It would not be out of place therefore, to hold a summit on energy for stakeholders to discuss and assist in fixing the energy crisis through a shared responsibility of expertise,” he said.

Touching on the fuel crisis, he said it was regrettable that the authorities are not walking their talk with regard to fuel pricing in the country, as expected.

“When the fuel prices on the world market goes up, the pricing formula (Automatic Adjustment Formula) works in Ghana, but when the prices go down, the pricing formula does not work in Ghana,” he said.

Mr Ayawine, said the very unfair pricing of petroleum products breeds mistrust between the citizens and the authorities, with the potential for civil agitation.

He said the on-going brouhaha on pension benefits has the potential of killing the spirits of hardworking Ghanaian workers and national patriotism, if policy makers continue to trample upon the rights and future of workers on such sensitive matters.

“We urge the government to, as a matter of urgency, find a lasting solution to this important issue so that as a nation, we can focus our attention and direction on other equally important national issues,” he said.

Mr Thomas Atia, the Regional Officer of ICU said the Union at the regional level has handled several grievances, ranging from intimidation to unfair termination of employment among others saying “the union currently has been able to resolve 11 grievances, while 9 grievances are currently unresolved at the National Labour Commission”.

He said the union has also, in the first quarter of the year, successfully negotiated and concluded 60 collective agreements with 57 negotiations currently on-going, while a few are yet to be commenced.

By Lawrence Markwei 

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