Organised labour won’t back down over ultimatum to government, PURC
Organised labour says it will not back down on its 10-working-day ultimatum to the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) and the government to suspend the implementation of the new tariff increases.
According to the group, considering the hardships that public sector workers and their families were facing as a result of the current general price hikes, it had decided that all arrears in respect of the 2013 public sector pay must be paid by the end of 2013.
Last Saturday, President John Dramani Mahama expressed disquiet over the 10-day ultimatum given by organised labour to the PURC and the government to reduce the recent increases in electricity and water tariffs.
Addressing the Northern Regional and constituency executive members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in Tamale on Saturday, President Mahama said once the Trades Union Congress (TUC) had a representation on the working group set up to look at the impact of the tariff increases, it was expected that it would wait for the release of the group’s report before issuing any threat.
He gave an assurance that the government was ready to work with any recommendation of the working group.
At a meeting in Accra to appraise developments on its engagement on the astronomical utility tariff increases, organised labour also discussed President Mahama’s appeal for the withdrawal of the 10-working-day ultimatum and an invitation to organised labour to serve on a technical working group on utility tariffs.
A statement signed by the Secretary General of the TUC, Mr Kofi Asamoah, on behalf of organised labour, said: ‘While organised labour agrees in principle to participate in the Technical Working Group on Utility Tariffs, it calls on the government to prevail on the PURC to suspend the implementation of the announced tariff increases in order to create a level playing ground for effective dialogue on the way forward.’
It said the meeting deplored the impression being created by the government machinery that a technical committee was already working on the utility tariff increases when, in fact, the letter purporting to formally constitute and announce the membership of the working committee was only received on Wednesday, October 16, 2013.
It said the meeting, which also discussed the payment of 2013 public sector pay arrears and the nomination of the chairperson of the National Tripartite Committee, also agreed on the nomination of a chairperson of the National Labour Commission for further consultations with the Ghana Employers Association.
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