Tema workers wear ‘red’ over tariff hike

Mr. Samuel Sarpong,Executive Secretary,PURC.

Mr. Samuel Sarpong,Executive Secretary,PURC.

The Tema District Council of Labour (TDCL), has ordered all its members to wear red arm bands from today, as part of efforts by the Council to put pressure on the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) to suspend the tariff increment.

All offices are also supposed to hoist red flags in front of their premises from Monday with a massive demonstration on the streets of Tema in the first week of January.

The Chairman for the TDCL, Mr. Wilson Agana, told The Ghanaian Times that the decision was taken at an emergency meeting with members of the Council yesterday.

He said the meeting, which brought together more than 100 members, resolved that the TDCL would after the demonstration undertake a one week sit-down strike and if all these fail, they would converge at the premises of PURC in Accra to meet the commission to further express their displeasure through a dialogue.

Mr. Agana said the council felt disrespected because all letters sent to the PURC to register its displeasure about the increase in tariffs and its call for a suspension of the increment had neither been replied nor considered.

“The PURC is being wicked to the workers of Ghana. It is also annoying that you are not getting power and tariff is being increased,” he said.

According to him, the Commission whose mandate was to ensure that services provided by the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the Ghana Water Company Limited were satisfactory, had failed to do so.

“We are not saying we will not pay but all we are saying is that, the tariff should be suspended because the predicament of workers now cannot allow it. We are struggling to pay fees and even spouses in the informal sector such as beauticians, tailors and dressmakers are also unable to support because they are also being badly affected,” he said.

Mr. Agana revealed that more than a 1000 of their members have either been laid off or asked to go home temporarily because management of the various businesses were unable to pay them due to the non-availability of power to work with.

He said the excuse by the PURC that the increment has been gazetted in accordance with the law was no excuse because “it is humans who sat down and did that and so it is possible to reverse it”.

The concerns by the TDCL followed an announcement by the PURC on December 7, that there would be an adjustment in utility tariffs mainly on water which consumers were supposed to pay 59.2 per cent more and 67.2 per cent for electricity, which took effect from December 14.

From Dzifa Tetteh, Tema  

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