Business News of Monday, 5 September 2016
The Ghana Railway Workers Union has told Citi Business News it will carry out its intended strike on Monday September 12, 2016 to drive home demands for better working conditions and upgrade in salary.
According to the Union, several appeals to the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Transport and the National Labour Commission (NLC) have all proved futile.
Speaking to Citi Business News, the General Secretary of the Railway Workers Union, Godwill Ntarmah said that all workers have been directed to display red bands after which the strike will commence on Monday.
“So far, we have not heard from any quarter as to what is being done but we are sticking to our red bands, we are working normally if by the weekend we don’t hear anything, then on Monday the passenger trains will not move,” he said.
He lamented that every effort directed at the Ministry of Finance to address the grievances of the workers has yielded no positive outcome.
He disclosed that the workers were urged from September 1, 2016 to display red bands to catch the attention of the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Transport but no attention has been granted the union.
“My brother, there is nothing we can do now apart from getting what we want. We even think we have gone beyond talking. Railway workers need their salaries. Schools have just reopened and we think this is the best time,” he said.
Recounting efforts made in the past to demand better working conditions and salary upgrade, Mr. Ntarmah recalled that arrangements were reached in former John Kufuor’s government to support salaries of railway workers.
He pointed out that the Ghana Railway Company has used its own Internally Generated Funds (IGF) to pay net salaries of workers, leaving essential contributions such as SSNIT contributions, second tier pensions, and workers contributions.
“Unfortunately you know the state of the railway now. We don’t generate enough revenue and so management is finding it difficult to pay July and august salary. So we feel that for now we should push hard and get money from the Ministry of Finance,” he said.
He stated that letters were dispatched to the office of the president to alert the Chief of Staff that the workers will go on strike on Monday , yet the union received no response.