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Workers celebrate May Day in Upper East Region, call on gov’t to address depreciating cedi

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The Upper East Regional Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Scholastica Tagtir Dery, on behalf of workers, wants the government to put pragmatic measures in place to stabilize the depreciating cedi against foreign currencies.

Delivering a statement on behalf of workers during the regional celebration of May Day held at Paga in the Kassena-Nankana West District, Madam Scholastica lamented that the depreciation of the Ghana cedi over the past eight years has led to a decline in living standards for Ghanaians, particularly workers.

She noted the impact of over-reliance on imported goods, whose prices are directly affected by the exchange rate of the cedi.

“Comrades, we are celebrating this year’s May Day at a time when Ghanaian workers and their families are grappling with high cost of living and inflation of over 25 percent,” she indicated. “The exchange rate of the cedi is now almost GH₵14 to one US dollar compared to about GH₵4 in 2016. That means workers who earned a monthly salary of 1,000 cedis in 2016 took home the equivalent of about US$250. Today, 1,000 cedis is only US$71. The depreciation of the Ghana Cedi at this monumental scale.”

The TUC Regional Secretary also raised concerns about low wages, injuries, and deaths in workplaces, as well as inadequate pensions for retirees. She emphasized the need for organized labor to continue working together to protect the interests of workers.

“In spite of the existence of relatively strong institutional and legal frameworks for industrial relations, many Ghanaian workers still suffer wrongful terminations and dismissals,” Dery continued. “Some are not allowed to exercise their constitutional right to form or join trade unions of their choice to protect their social and economic interests. Wages are so low that you wonder how the employers who pay such wages feel when their employees earn such slave wages.”

She called the government’s attention to delays in the payment of pension contributions, including arrears owed to the public sector second-tier schemes and the failure to pay first-tier pension contributions to the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT). She urged the government to ratify the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 190 concerning violence and harassment at work and to address the issue of power outages, known as “Dumsor,” which has resurfaced in the country.

The Upper East Regional Minister, Dr. Hafiz Bin Salih, expressed regrets that the ethnic conflict in Bawku “has displaced a lot of workers over the past 3 years and claimed lives and property”. He said the government, through the Ministry of National Security, is making strenuous efforts to resolve the conflict to make life more comfortable for all residents of Bawku and the region alike.

The theme for this year’s May Day celebration was “Election 2024: The Role of Workers and Social Partners in Securing Peaceful Elections for National Development”. The minister called for collective efforts to safeguard the rights of voters, ensure electoral integrity, and foster inclusive participation.

Some deserving workers were honored for their contribution to the country’s development.

Source: A1Radioonline.com|Joshua Asaah|Paga|Ghana

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