From Kumasi, GBC’s Ashanti Regional Correspondent, John Yeboah reports that 30 Organized Labour Groups gathered at the frontage of the Central Post Office at Adum, to participate in the May Day celebrations, from where they went on a route march through some principal streets of Kumasi amidst brass band music converged at Jubilee Park.
The workers, who were in a cheerful mood, engaged themselves in “Jama” dance to entertain themselves.
The Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah was on hand to address workers.
He expressed serious concern about the low coverage of pensions in the informal sector, which he warned has the potential to derail government’s efforts at ensuring a comfortable pension scheme for workers.
Mr. Osei-Mensah therefore called on employers to take the social security of their employees serious.
The Ashanti Regional Secretary of the Trades Union Congress, Osman Abubakar Abengo said low coverage is not the only weakness of the country’s social security system.
He said other weaknesses are the payment of inadequate pension benefits, especially for pensioners on the SSNIT scheme, inequality in pension benefits and the discrimination against women in terms of access to social security and levels of pension benefits.
According to Mr. Abengo, these weaknesses in the pension system could be attributed to the inherent flaws in the legislation governing social security as well as failure of the country’s social policy to recognize the needs and vulnerabilities of some sections of the society, adding that Government must address these anomalies.
Some outstanding workers were honoured for their contribution to trade unionism and national development.
In the Northern region, hundreds of members of organized labour unions marched through the principal streets of Tamale to mark the Day.
The walk begun at the Tamale Jubilee Park and lasted for nearly an hour before the workers finally converged at the Jubilee Park where speeches were delivered.
The Northern Regional Minister, Salifu Saed, urged skilled personnel to accept postings to the northern region to help develop the area.
From Bono region, some workers who participated in the May Day celebrations in the Bono Regional Capital, Sunyani have expressed the need for Government to improve the salaries of workers while taking others measures to motivate them to be more productive.
They spoke to the GBC during the celebration which was heavily patronized by Organised Labour Groups from Bono, Bono East and Ahafo Regions.
This year’s May Day Celebrations is the last to be celebrated by Workers from the new Bono East and Ahafo Regions together with their parent Region Bono.
Next year the GTUC is expected to organize the May Day celebrations in the new Regions.
The day started with Workers gathering at the Post Office in Sunyani before marching amidst brass music to the Jubilee Park for the March Past and Presentation of Awards.
Speaking to the GBC at the Jubilee Park, the issue of improved salaries and worker motivation was on the minds of many workers.
The Workers were joined by the Kontihene of the Sunyani Traditional Council, Oboaman Bofotia Boamponsem and the Bono Regional Minister, Mrs. Evelyn Ama Kumi Richardson, among other Dignitaries.
The Workers under the banners of their various Mother Unions, Marched Past with the Regional Secretary of the GTUC taking the salute.
They carried placards with inscriptions like; “Stop Playing With Workers Pensions”, “Stop Political Interference in Local Government Service” and Government don’t abandon professions”.
The Regional Minister delivered the President’s message, while the Bono Regional Secretary of the GTUC, Comfort Asomah, also read the GTUC Secretary General’s address.
In it was a call for a critical look at inequalities in pensions.
Workers from all walks of life converged at the Jubilee Park in Takoradi in the Western Region for the celebration of this year’s May Day celebrations.
This year, workers belonging to the various affiliates of the Trades Union Congress, TUC participated in the day’s activity which was preceded by a procession through some streets in Takoradi bearing placards with sentimental inscriptions which capture their feelings.
These include, “MPS DEAL STINKS”, “GHANAIAN TEACHERS DESERVE BETTER EMOLUMENTS”, “PROTECT WATER BODIES”, “BAUXITE AND MANGANESE MUST GO BY RAIL” and “OUR ROADS ARE KILLING US”.
In his address, the Western Regional Secretary of the TUC, Brother Charles Thompson Junior described as unacceptable the instances where some workers are paid far below the daily minimum wage as well as the engagement of workers casual labour for years without any employment any contract and benefits and the refusal of some employers to allow female employees to enjoy their reproductive rights.
Brother Thompson Junior therefore urged government to resource the agencies such as the Factory Inspection Division and the Labour Commission to ensure enforcement and compliance with country’s labour laws.
The Western Regional Minister, Kobina Okyere-Darko Mensah said government will collaborate with organized labour to ensure better working condition for workers and sustainable pensions.
He appealed to workers not to compromise on smaller salaries for bigger allowances as this intact negatively on their pensions.
Mr. Okyere Darko Mensah entreated workers in the Western Region to buy into the corporate western agenda which aims at harnessing the region’s potential for overall national development.
Twenty-seven workers compering Union activities who excelled in the discharge of their services where presented with awards and citations.
U/West Region, Wa
From Wa in the Upper West Region organized labour observed the day with a call on government to adequately resource the National Labour Commission and Labour Department to fight for the rights of workers.