Video: Hundreds of workers demonstrate over economic hardship

Hundreds of Ghanaian workers, mostly members of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU), of the Trades Union Congress, demonstrated in Tema on Thursday July 9, over what they describe as worsening economic conditions.

The country has in recent months witnessed several of such protests as well as strike actions from different disgruntled groups.

According to Thursday’s demonstrators, the recent increase in petroleum products and the upward adjustment of tariffs in the face of the country’s worst energy crisis, are indications that the incumbent administration is no more sensitive to the real hardships Ghanaians are facing.

TV3’s correspondent, Josephine Frimpong, says the  protest through major streets of the industrial city of Tema, was led by the General Secretary of the ICU, Solomon Kotei.

She reported  that demonstrators clad in red and black with placards as saying that most of them complained about the depreciation of the cedi and its effect on businesses, despite the cedi seeing some stability in the last few days.

Mr. Solomon Kotei largely blamed the hardship on the extreme conditions which came about as a result of government’s bailout programme with the International Monetary Fund, IMF.

He questioned why particularly the salaries of public sector workers remain unchanged despite a constant increase in the price of petroleum products and utility tariffs even in the face of the ongoing power crisis.

Mr. Kotei particularly condemned the bi-weekly increase in the prices of petroleum products in the name of implementing a deregulation policy.

“All the increases [government] have brought which is not matching our income, we want to tell the president of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Dramani Mahama that workers are suffering. We have gotten to a point where if there will be increases in petrol prices every two weeks, a time has come we must halt it.”

The General Secretary of the ICU also expressed concern about the dismissal of nearly 14,000 workers, warning there would be more job losses if the economy is not put on track.

He however condemned such companies who are using the excuse of the current economic hardship to lay off workers without recourse to the existing labor laws; urging workers to form such unions to fight their course.

”In places where there are no unions, your salary reviews are not done regularly and you are treated with contempt. You are sacked at the will and beckon of the employer but if you have a union and a collective agreement, you are totally secured and for that matter no employer can look at you and treat you anyhow.”

The demonstrators presented a petition to the Metropolitan Chief Executive for Tema to be forwarded to the President.

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By: Ebenezer Afanyi Dadzie/