TUC warns against power privatisation

Kofi  AsamoahThe Trade Union Congress (TUC) says it will use every means at its disposal to “battle against” the planned privatization of the power distribution system of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) this year.

According to the union, privatizing the power distribution system would render more than 3,500 workers in the power sector jobless.

Aside that, it said electricity tariffs would go up astronomically and would further increase the hardships workers were facing.

A senior official at TUC, who spoke on condition of anonymity on the sidelines of a workshop on decent work situation in West Africa, hinted that the union had planned to “launch a battle” against the government’s decision to privatize the power distribution system.

Their decision comes in the wake of the government’s intension to consider the privatization of the power distribution system at ECG as part of the solutions to the perennial power crises.

“The problems of the power sector go deeper than just privatizing power distribution. The idea, to me, is erroneous because the number of people who will lose their jobs as a result is very alarming,” the official said.

The official said the union’s actions were based on the principles of social dialogue and added that the union would present alternative solutions to the government to consider.

“Two of our unions, the Public Sector Workers Union (PSWU) and the Public Utility Workers Union (PUWU) have conducted studies on how the power crises could be solved without privatization. We will present their study to the government and suggest alternatives,” the official said.

The official said the TUC would present to the government, situational reports of countries that took similar decisions in the past and the problems it had created for them and added that if the government refused to listen, they would use pressure.

The Secretary General of TUC, Mr Kofi Asamoah, addressing the workshop, said the union was aware that the rights of workers were being trampled upon with impunity in spite of the existence of labour laws, and the constitutional provisions providing guarantees for workers and human rights.

“Now we have a qualitative report to support our complaints and struggle in this area. We would move from complaints to mounting pressure including campaigns to ensure compliance with these laws,” he said.

Mr. Asamoah said the country’s labour front had, over the years, witnessed growing outsourcing, abuse of workers’ rights, non-adherence to the principle of equal pay for work of equal value, as well as the blatant abuse and undermining of trade union rights such as the right to organize and collective bargaining.

He said the union would work assiduously to ensure that the rights of workers were protected by their employees.

The workshop was organized by the Trade Union Solidarity Centre of Finland (SASK). SASK has, over the years, supported the activities of many labour unions in the country.

By Yaw Kyei 

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