ICU calls on govt to come clear with programme with IMF

Government must come out clear on the type of programme it wants to pursue under the International Monetary Fund(IMF)programme, Mr Morgan Ayawine,  General Secretary of the Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union(ICU) Ghana, has said.

According to him, workers were in a fix and did not know what the IMF programme portend for them.

‘Government needs to come out and tell us the conditions that we are going for and assure us that it is not going to bring about job cuts or freeze employment that we are not going to pay more taxes or increase taxes, ’he added

Mr Ayawine made the call in an interview with the Ghanaian Times in Accra yesterday.

He said the union was of the fear that it is rather going to exacerbate the already difficult conditions that we are living in.

“We have a whole lot of questions to be addressed so that all of us can be on the same page.”

Mr Ayawine stated that the ICU support the organised labour position that it was not a helpful approach the government had taken.

We would have supported this government for a successful home-grown policy rather than going back,adding that instead of going forward we are going back.

“For us we think that the home grown-policy would have been the best and this is just a big surprise that Ghana wakes up and announces that we are going back to the IMF and using COVID-19 pandemic and Russia/Ukraine war as an excuse to bounce back to IMF conditionalities”.

He said the policies may be good to help government to solve the country’s problems temporarily, adding that they come with a lot of restrictions or prescriptions which are sometimes restricted to job cuts, tax increases.

“All those things who is going to pay the price, it is the poor Ghanaian. We are already wallowing in abject poverty. Things are hard day in day out we have people agitating left, right, centre. Is it the right time to go back to IMF?’’ he questioned.

The General Secretary asked what has happened to the home-grown policy, adding that Ghanaians need to be told something. ‘Did we make progress or is it a situation where we have abandoned the home-grown policy,’’he added.

He said as a union it would be difficult for any union or worker organisation to support the idea of Ghana going back to the IMF.

‘I think people in Government were more vociferous about the IMF prescriptions that the IMF was not the best for Ghana to move forward

So we have worked assiduously to get ourselves out of this and we are going back using COVID-19 and the Ukraine war as a springboard to go back to IMF’’ he said

He urged employers to pay Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) to cushion Ghanaian workers so that they give up their best in the area of increased productivity. So we support that idea.

Mr Ayawine stated that the union had already told some of our employers that this request for COLA should be taken seriously so that we can seal some of the loopholes

‘It is an old age concept. This is not the first time. From the very inception of our labour relationship with our social partners there are times employers on their own will even take decisions on the basis that times are hard and to ensure increased productivity. They use their own discretion to pay COLA, ’’ he said

He said with the continuous increment in fuel which affect fares we can advise that the government should put a freeze on petrol prices which have some negative impacts on transport fares making things difficult.

BY ANITA NYARKO-YIRENKYI

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