President of the Ghana Medical Association, Dr. Kwabena Opoku Adusei says workers can no longer cope with the present economic situation where utility tariffs are placed on an automated adjustment system while salaries remain static.
According to Dr. Opoku Adusei, the state of affairs of the economy has rendered workers poorer as their earnings cannot take care of their upkeep due to the rising cost of living, coupled with the continuous dwindling value of the Ghana cedi against its major trading currencies.
Organised labour on Friday announced a nationwide strike this Thursday with a demonstration to demand a reduction in the recent 23% upward adjustment in the prices of petroleum products, 15% increment in transport fares, and press for better conditions.
Speaking on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM on Monday, Dr. Opoku-Adusei stated that the GMA is actively involved in the planning of the nationwide industrial action. He said executives of the Association will hold discussions on how their members can participate in the protest march.
He described government as being insensitive to the plight of Ghanaians though workers have made several appeals to government to come to their aid.
“We met with higher authority; we were instructed to meet the then Minister for Employment and Labour Relations (Nii Armah Ashitey); a common MoU [Memorandum of Understanding] he refused to sign. I don’t know whether this new Labour Minister [Haruna Iddrisu] will be different.”
“We are talking about continuous increase in utilities tariffs…we are talking about this automated tariff adjustment system when our salaries are not automated…generally about the high cost of living where people’s salaries and incomes are static and dwindling against the dollar,” he stated.
In a related development, the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) has hinted of embarking on an industrial action over the non-payment of their book and research allowance.
President of UTAG, Dr. Ofori Bekoe, announced on the Show that: “We will soon be reopening for the next academic year [and] the issue has not been resolved and as we are going into the next academic year, we are not sure where we are going to get our tools to work.”
“…We can’t work with our bare hands…if our tools are given us, then we will work [but] if not, we cannot continue to go to work,” Dr. Ofori Bekoe affirmed.
The threat by UTAG comes on the heels of a similar action taken by members of the Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG), who have since May 2014 vacated the lecture halls in protest over government’s delay in the release of their book and research allowance.
The action has forced the institutions to announce a nationwide shut down till date.