Blows At Labour Front Over Tariffs Slash
A description by a leading member of a group calling itself the Ghana Federation of Labour (GFL) that the Trades Union Congress (TUC) is ‘opportunistic, hypocritical and political’ has incurred the wrath of the largest organized labour in the country.
The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) announcement of increment of 78.9 per cent and 52 per cent in electricity and water tariffs respectively ruffled the feathers of Organized Labour, which has given the government a 10-day ultimatum to slash the increment or face its wrath.
In the ensuing confusion, Abraham Koomson, who is the Secretary-General of the GFL, criticized the TUC leadership for putting pressure on the government.
The Tema District Council of Labour, which has control of a good number of TUC members in Tema because of its industrialized nature, jumped to the defence of the parent association and asked the public to ignore Mr. Koomson and his ilk.
A strongly-worded statement, which was issued in Tema and jointly signed by Wilson Agana and Ebenezer Kodwo Taylor, Chairman and Secretary respectively said ‘but for the teaming mass of Ghanaians who may not have the benefit of the full knowledge of the issues at stake and the characters behind these insinuations, a response that shed light on the issues is often warranted.’
‘The Tema District Council of Labour can understand why neither the TUC nor any of the unions that make up Organised Labour has restrained itself from officially responding to such obviously irresponsible statements. Sometimes the best way to reply some people is to keep quiet and allow them to advertise their ignorance and disingenuity.
The statement said that the ultimatum Mr. Koomson talked about was not issued by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) but Organised Labour, which the TUC leads, saying ‘the Tema District Council of Labour fully endorses the ultimatum.’
Need for Education
‘Mr. Koomson and his GFL should do well to educate themselves about the distinction between the TUC and Organised Labour,’ the charged.
The statement said that the Ghana Federation of Labour was fully represented at the two meetings of Organised Labour that emphasized the need to hold a press conference, saying ‘it was at these meetings that Organised Labour comprising all the major labour unions agreed on the content of the press statement including giving government a 10-day ultimatum to reduce the tariffs.’
‘While the GFL fully participated in the meetings it did not raise any objections to either the substantive demands of the larger group or the methodology for achieving them. Yet, Mr. Abraham Koomson could mount the moral podium and accuse others of being hypocritical.’
The statement said, ‘Mr. Koomson seems to be making fetish of the fact that the TUC is represented on the PURC and also participated in the stakeholder consultations leading to the increases for which reason it cannot complain about the increases. This way of thinking and looking at issues clearly shows that the man neither understands nor
appreciates the current industrial relations regime in the country.’
‘The TUC has one member serving on the board. To think and believe that a single member can determine tariff levels of such noisy products as electricity and water in a country where politics trumps common sense and expert knowledge is to be living in a fool’s paradise.’
‘Obviously in such an environment it might seem that the TUCs membership of the PURC and many other public boards is not necessary. But it is instructive to note that while things might not be going the way we all want a lot more would have gone wrong without TUC’s membership of either the PURC or the many other public institutions. For example, through the TUC’s membership, national
interest has been safeguarded in many areas of national life under the quiet over a long period of time.’
The statement said it was difficult to appreciate the logic of Mr. Koomson and his GFL that because the TUC participated in the stakeholder consultations, it was being hypocritical in complaining about the new tariffs.
‘Abraham Koomson should have checked what transpired and what the outcome of the consultations was. For his education, after careful scrutiny of the tariff proposals, the TUC indicated that while some upward adjustment of tariffs could be envisaged what the utility companies need most is for the shareholder to invest and ensure that
the companies are managed properly.’
The statement said that the TUC did not agree to such astronomical increases, adding ‘and for the avoidance of doubt, the TUC is eternally opposed to such over-the-roof increases.’
The statement said ‘it is important for workers and Ghanaians to know the Ghana Federation of Labour and the characters behind it. The GFL is reputed as the second labour Centre in Ghana after the TUC. It is said to have 10 affiliate unions and claims to have a membership of 48,000 out of which 10,000 are dues paying members. Abraham Koomson is the Secretary General. Kenneth Koomson, a son is the General Secretary of Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU), the largest affiliate of GFL.’
‘Ellis Koomson, another son of Abraham Koomson is the Head of Education and Research of GFL and Kenneth Koomson’s wife is the administrator of FAWU. Clearly, this is a family enterprise purporting to represent and defend workers.
‘Ghanaians should know them for who they are. We are aware of their deliberate ploy to muddy the waters and to frustrate the genuine cry of workers and Ghanaians. We hope that they will learn the appropriate lessons or workers and Ghanaians will forever ignore them.’
By William Yaw Owusu
Leave a comment. 0 comment so far.