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General News
More labour unrest looming 10/13/2005
More labour unrest looming

The Government of Ghana continues to experience a lot of turbulence on the labour front over demands for higher wages and salaries.

The latest to join the almost unceasing pressure on government for higher pay after the health workers, workers of the Tema Oil Refinery, teachers among others, is the Tema District Council of Labour (TDCL).

The threat from the latest group is premised on the government’s promise to pay each member of the nation’s football team, the Black Stars, $10,000 for qualifying for next year’s world cup finals.

The TDCL has issued a two ultimatum to government to waive taxes on overtime, incentives and bonuses for its workers or face further industrial action.

The Council has threatened to throw its workers on the streets to demonstrate against government to back their demand. It has also threatened to withdraw overtime services, if the problem was not solved within the two-week period.

At a meeting with the West African country’s Deputy Minister for Manpower, Youth and Employment in the habour city of Tema near the capital Accra, the workers expressed regret about the way Government was handling their concerns, and said it was an indication that "Government is not taking the concerns of workers seriously".

They recalled the calling off of their previous demonstration, because of assurances from the National Tripartite Committee (NTC) to find a lasting solution to their problems and stated that; "the issue is sensitive and can be a recipe for chaos in future, if a lasting solution was not found to it".

According to the workers, some professionals in the country received bonuses, but paid no taxes on them, and mentioned for instance, the current 100,000 dollars given to the Black Stars after they won their match in Cape Verde.

The contention is that if the government could afford to pay each member of the soccer team $10,000 aside other incentives, then it has no business charging taxes on their bonuses, overtime allowances and other incentives. To them, this is a travesty of justice, which must not be allowed to go on.

The Deputy Minister of Manpower Youth and Employment, Dr Charles Brempong-Yeboah, assured the workers that Government had taken their concerns seriously and would do all it could to find lasting solutions to them.

Deputy Secretary-General of the Trades Union Congress, Kofi Asamoah, stated that, taxes should not be the sole burden of workers in the formal sector, but their colleagues in the informal sector as well.

Mr Asamoah reminded the workers that even though Government had the responsibility to ensure that workers paid taxes, it equally had a role to play in ensuring that the burden of taxes on them was reduced.

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