PWD ‘toll workers’ descend on Road Minister for disparaging comments

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Contrary to the earlier promise by the government to continue paying them salaries and reassign them to some other sectors of the Road Ministry, Persons Living with Disabilities (PWDs) Toll Workers have lamented not been paid a dime for the past five months after the cessation of toll collections, Rashad Mohammed Rahmat, a leader of the group, has said.

He said efforts to to get their monies from the government have proved futile.

“When we demanded to be paid our monthly salaries until we are reassigned as it was promised by the government when toll collections were halted abruptly, the Minister of Roads, Akwasi Amoako Atta told us that paying us our salaries will amount to ‘Causing Financial Loss to the State’.  The Minister said our work is contract based and it ends after six months.

“It would be recalled that immediately concerns were raised about the plight of the affected toll workers, the Minister and government officials came out to assure that the affected workers would be paid their salaries as they await reassignment to other sectors. So the whole country is aware that government is paying us every month but were only paid our November and December 2021 arears,” he said.

The aggrieved persons disclosed on 3FM Sunrise Morning Show on Monday 23 May, 2022 that they are relying on the benevolence of friends and relations to survive but that has been unreliable and dehumanizing.

“Most of us were begging on the streets before we were brought to work at the road sector to earn a decent living, but now that we have been sacked, we can’t go back to the street to beg for money. It is a hell of a problem for us” they complained

The PWDs toll workers complained that the PRO of the Ministry of Road who was assigned to liaise with them has been dilly dallying with them whereas the Minister Akwasi Amoako Atta vehemently told them they can’t be paid.

Prior to the Privatization of the toll collection, the group was employed under the Ministry of Roads and Highways.

“Recently, we had a termination letter from the Chairman of Tolls and Routes Management Limited saying he is giving us one month’s notice of termination of our employment so that we can go and face the ministry itself because they are not getting any positive feedback from the Road Ministry. We are confused”

Rashad Mohammed Rahmat, a leader of the group said “We are assuring the Ministry that we will be going there until we are reassigned and we want to assure the Minister that we don’t have any problem with them. We are pleading that the work should come back for us to be able to feed our families because we are finding it so difficult in our own mother land.”

They confessed that they had challenges with the work as persons with disabilities at the toll booths regarding access to the work place in terms of safety and transportation cost. They noted that some of them were transferred to toll booths very far from their residence and had several challenges with the working conditions even before the cessation of the toll collection.

One of the leaders Stephen Akomanyi told 3FM “we worked under very strict conditions as they are saying that the toll collectors are thieves. They searched us before and after work and there are cameras all over the place to monitor our work. We had a daily sales target which we had to top up whenever we couldn’t make the set amount in order to avoid being sacked. We were hanging on the job because we needed to survive.”

  By Samuel Afriyie Owusu||Ghana

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