News Commentary lauds hardworking Ghanaian workers on the occasion of May Day and the need for sustained tripartite partnerships between government, employers, and labour to ensure lasting economic relief for Ghanaians.
Once again, this year, Ghanaian workers are privileged to observe the International Workers’ Day of Solidarity, popularly known as May Day, which falls on Monday, May 1. This comes as a reminder of our emancipation as workers from servitude almost a century and a half ago, making us labour in dignity and self-assertiveness.
It enables workers to sit at the same table, side by side, with their social partners (employers) to negotiate on matters of employment, non-employment, and terms and conditions of service, unlike the period preceding workers liberation from the 16th-century employer or masters -employee-task systems of old. Now, Capital and Labour are seen as equal partners in the world of work.
The essence of labour, primarily, is to meet one’s physiological needs. This includes food, clothing, and shelter, now and in the future. The adoption of the theme “Protecting Incomes And Pensions In An Era Of Economic Crises: Our Responsibility” is an appropriate subject for the celebration of May Day 2023. Our survival as workers, now and in the future, depends largely on workers’ present incomes and pensions. Therefore, pensions must be seen as sacrosanct and, as such, should not be violated under any circumstance, if the recent experience in respect of the investment of pensioners in this country is anything to go by. On this score, achieving a living wage for the workers of Ghana and, by extension, protecting incomes and pensions, must be the responsibility of all stakeholders in the socio-economic equation of the country.
As workers, the year-in-year-out celebration of May Day has imbibed in us an irresistible sense of belonging in the labour fraternity, which should motivate labour to give off its best at the workplace, to increase productivity for the organisations’ profits, for sustainable economic growth and national development for the mutual good, as well as to the advantage and welfare of the individual worker and workers in general. Similarly, employers must show commitment and pay workers a living wage in conformity with international standards, commensurate with their toils and sacrifices, for increased productivity, which should translate into economic growth and national development. The tripartite partnership of Government-Employer-Labour must be strengthened, efficiently, and effectively harnessed to find a lasting solution to the intractable economic problems of this country in order to achieve sustainable and long-lasting economic relief for the workers and the good people of this country.
As Trade Unions and workers, we shall continue to play the role expected of us in the economic emancipation and freedom of the country, by working hard, even in the strenuous, low-paying, and unfriendly working conditions and environments we find ourselves in. In the same vein, the other two members of the triumvirate, employers, should motivate workers with institutionalisation of a living wage and stop casualisation of employment, while the Government promulgates sound and effective economic policies and programmes that would create conducive environments for economic growth and development. Workers should be treated with dignity, respect, and all the necessary tools and equipment needed to enhance their work, welfare, and well-being. It is pathetic and a shame to hear and know that some people holding political power or positions discuss and laugh at the meagre salaries received by some other workers, whose monthly or yearly gross salaries are like those of the politicians one or two allowances.
Workers deserve the best if all the vices, such as corruption, absenteeism, laziness, mismanagement, and improper care of public funds and property, are to be stopped or minimised. Treat workers well and see the turnover results improve for the benefit of all.
On this note, we SALUTE all GALLANT WORKERS OF GHANA, for their hard work and sacrifices towards the country’s economic recovery. LONG LIVE THE INTERNATIONAL WORKERS’ DAY OF SOLIDARITY! LONG LIVE GALLANT WORKERS OF GHANA!!
LONG LIVE OUR SOCIAL PARTNERS!!! LONG LIVE MOTHER GHANA. SOLIDARITY FOREVER
By Morgan Ayawine, General Secretary of the Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union, ICU-Ghana.