Organised Labour (TUC) is one of less than a handful of nationwide institutions, both statutory and Unions, apart from approximately church societal, which survives body soul and essence today since the overthrow of the First Republic Feb. 1966. All, including the TUC were tampered with by the Military-Police Junta, NLC, the Busia PP regime and the one-quarter-year-long Rawlings’ AFRC’s WDC, (Workers Defence Council). 

By tradition profiling from its history, Labour organisations would be found in one of two moulds—fiery or supportive of the government of the day everywhere irrespective, incidentally of the type of government, Liberal democratic to brutal dictatorship that may be; but tend usually to be Left of politics, relative to general public regard of them.  Historically, ours has not been really stagnated one-sidedly between the Right-wing-Left-wing poles.  The fluctuation made it a ‘dark horse’.  Any exact difference had really depended on how well any administration at any time had infiltrated and influenced leadership choices.  When Dr Kwame Nkrumah seized the 1948 riots and strikes the end results were the Unions being pro-CPP and strong.  He was equally skilful to turn it into an integral part of the CPP.  There was an entente cordiale, sometimes betraying ‘his master’s voice’ proverbially; and others from the zest of power with enthusiasm to independently articulate positions on both labour and state policies. 

The peaks were the years of John Tettegah and B.A.Bentum.  The TUC was on its own cultivatedly, powerful.  That was or must have ranked as top rationale for Busiato try to dishevel it if not dismantle that heft—a kind of Margaret Thatcher and Arthur Scargill-stand-off, British Prime Minister and TU Leader respectively after the historic three-day work-week Garbage Strike downed the Edward Heath Conservative government 1972, Busiahad been pushed out earlier January same year, curtailed by the second putsch led by then Col I.K.Acheampong, ousted by the AFRC on June4, 1979.  It was definitely Leftie but shifted by the close of second coming of Rawlings on December31, 1981 into the Fourth Republic restoration of constitutional rule 1993.The prior vibrancy went into a lull period, the TUC here lost their effective presence in the affairs of State.  Successive governments’ strategies followed a pursuit of peaceful co-existence between governments and the unions, presumably guided by a rule of thumb, ‘the avoidance of confrontation.’  Former President John Kufuor found that could snap early in his first term, having spoken boastfully of his accord with organised labour. 

I should mention to dismiss the impression that the TUC had lived cosily with governments that tended to be close ideologically.  General SecretaryB.A.Bentumwalked out of the NLC’s Prices and Incomes Board expecting him to deter the unions in a crisis of pay and prices’ free spiral such as today.  That kind of difficulties actually happened seven years after the NLC had marched back to barracks.  The TUC itself nearly broke up in between the years within the big unions, courts et al.  Some change in governmental attitudes towards unionism has been discernible from the recent past between the alternations of governments in recent years had between spurned and discounted organised labour until this last Monday 1May 2023 at the Bolgatanga celebration.

The speeches of the president and the TUC general Secretary testified the narrative from perhaps speculation to confirmed-clarity.  General Secretary Anthony Yaw Baahranged widely in his delivery from call to finish the review of labour laws emphasising end to the arbitrariness of employers, advising smaller government, repeated the unions utter opposition to going to the IMF because it won’t take this country out of its economic stupor, explaining it is the outcome of policy ‘neo-liberal’-framework from 40 years ago, urging government to engage in economies and doubted blaming our financial difficulties on COVID and the Russia invasion of Ukraine,he recited to President Nana Akufo-Addo:

‘’we believe that government can lead us out of this crisis by cutting expenditure on non-essentials including the need to stop spending our hard-earned revenue on a national cathedral. In fact, it will be better to convert that project into a national hospital.  The president has always said he wants to create another Notre Dame in Ghana so we can attract a lot of visitors but we disagree.’’All of the hard blabs are common knowledge home and internationally except that they are statements made in the face and hearing of the president.  It takes boldest courage and when that occurs in our tradition it means or could, that push has gone beyond shove.  And of greater significance is that the TUC is the feeling of the working class. That is almost approximate to the pulse of the country. And to cap it all is the latest revelations about the purposes of the Cathedral as  registered in America, which details contradicts what is known locally (per Samuel OkudzetoAblakwa’s latest) only this week.

The President in turn, referred the Unions to government having kept faith with promise previous year in spite of the damaging effects of the global economic crisis.  ‘’Not only did the government demonstrate it in the course of the year, but it actually proceeded to improve’’ the incomes of workers and pensioners, pledging to protect the same, he said.  On plain analysis, the President appears to have ducked several concerns about running issues like big government, IMF and the cathedral.  I would have thought it a missed-opportunity in the context of labour and the nation, obviously raring to hear something refreshing from the Boss, pittance or not. 

[Recalling experiences, both Prof.Busia and Dr Nkrumah would have fielded that extempore, satisfactorily or not but would have posed counter(s) to consider compellingly.  And the President has that equal ability which is regrettable]. Then, the speculation issues debate: was he or he was tactically tactful to hold off till delivering the IMF’s total outcome.  Or, that he could be losing his touch as rumoured, in political repartee.It is perhaps right to draw a longish insight from the truth that no government has been under so much siege like his after independence.I shall in passing remark that the language levels as the angry Irish would rudely say ‘’bludy’’ (bloody) in the cut and thrust politics which we have reduced everything into, is not the best and makes already difficult task seemingly impossible.  I mean the politisation impedes dissecting to reasonably understand some independent meaningful senses of what all this buzz about illegal mining rackets and gold mafiosi—not Sicilian.

Keeping matters arising on track, turning the cathedral into a hospital shows the hatred of the project.  The pointlessness of apologists treks the ire or displeasure to [i] the nation’s economic imbroglio; [ii] the contradiction between the President’s personal promise to thank the omnipotent for helping him win the presidency 2016, contradicting its becoming turning the intent into a national project and for which the TUC rather opts no need to spend ‘’our hard earned’’ money; [iii] conflict of financial dire straits and Christianity versus moral-ethics and the latter-day fretting by atheists because they feel discriminated in spite of their tax contributions.  This stirs illustration of their bother from a true story about the GBC’s ‘’Ghana montie’’ news signature tune.  Christians among approving management board objected to the ‘’nkodwuwa’’ –the ensemble of native rattles backing up towards the crescendo which cues in the singular drum towards the finale.  Then the shocker question which scattered the dissent (majority Whitee and Darkie few) about the inclusion: ‘’is the national radio for Christiansonly.’’?

I guess the depth of that relative to the un-necessaire, or so, wittingly raises this national divisive argy-bargy several octaves higher because it introduces a significant complication—hard concept.It all descend to a misspoke.  However, a ‘’Hospital’’ has its merits proportionally, debate-wise on reflection.  And that doesn’t require disputing, But, remotely and perhaps per se arguably, a cynical interpretation might be that the TUC’s innuendo is that the hardship was driving too much ‘’thinking it is’’– (Adwendwen) as if there is a medical cure for that worrying in the situation and the predicament about early exits and or reliefs, once the firmed credo is that the IMF is neither the solution nor would ever take the country out. 

Our incredulity, distance and distrustful of the IMF has basis but it seems being stuck with them and talking them down shall harden them into Shylock.  No one can fathom the outcomes of such embedded unfaithfulness.  It leads to an either, or :  Is there an alternate, never mind a loan from the UN; and how well is that institution tested for a fall back or second option.  There may be.  It is not generally public knowledge yet, silhouetted or detailed.  The belief of the TUC’s thunder centralizes the phrasing ‘’the government can…..’’ doing a domestic pruning.  Those had been repeated all the time from the start of the crisis to date.  The stalemate which others describe as reluctance to budge, the mayor would become a candidate for research futurely.

By Prof nana essilfie-conduah.

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