Organised Labour threatens mass action over tariffs

Dr Opoku-Adusei, President, Ghana Medical AssociationOrganised Labour, the umbrella body of labour unions in the country, has given government until next Wednesday, January 13, to reduce the recently increased utility tariffs and withdraw the Energy Sector Levy Act or face its wrath.

In a statement signed by representatives of 10 labour unions yesterday, the group expressed grave disappointment with the “lazy recourse to taxation and its attendant economic and social hardships on the overburdened Ghanaian by the government”.

It also decried the manner in which Parliament went about the promulgation of the Energy Sector Levy which, in the view of the group, had brought undue hardship on Ghanaians.

The “increases in tariffs, taxes and levies are reckless and a display of insensitivity on the part of the managers of the economy, to the plight of the ordinary Ghanaian and (we) accordingly condemn it in the strongest terms”.

The statement demanded that “government must reduce the utility tariffs as demanded by Organised Labour in its statement of December, 2015” and “withdraw with immediate effect the Energy Sector Levies Act, 2015……which has resulted in astronomical and unjustified increase in prices of petroleum products”.

“If these demands are not met by the said date, Organised Labour would unleash series of nationwide actions on the government,” it warned.

The statement was jointly signed by Mr. Kofi Asamoah, Secretary General of the Trades Union Congress; Solomon Kotei, General Secretary of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union, Albert Yamoah, Ghana Federation of Labour; Vida Sapabil, Coalition of Concerned Teachers’, and Kojo W. Krakani of the Civil and Local Government Staff Association of Ghana.

Others are Derrick Annan, Judicial Services Association of Ghana; Justice Yankson of the Ghana Medical Association; M.V.V.K. Demenya, Ghana National Association of Teachers; Kwaku Asante-Krobea, Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association; and Christian O. Odue of the National Association of Graduate Teachers.

The Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission in November last year, increased electricity and water tariffs by 59.2 % and 67.2% respectively for residential consumers, prompting anger from the public including Organised Labour.

An Energy Sector Levy also took effect on New Year’s Day January 1, culminating in the increase in prices of petroleum products by between 18 and 27 per cent.

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