‘Yen Tumi Ntua’ Demo Rocks Tema
The demonstrators nearly clashed with the Tema Police personnel over the issue of permit to demonstrate. The police sought to get the demonstration postponed when they attempted to secure an interlocutory injunction to stop the demonstration.
However, the leadership of the demonstrators, numbering about thousand, were quick to get court order from the Tema Circuit Court ‘A’, presided over by Ms Lydia Osei Marfo, to proceed with their plan.
The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) mandated to regulate utilities and offer quality services to consumers in the country, recently increased the tariff which the TOL bemoaned and described as excessively astronomical to the ordinary Ghanaian.
Last week, the TDCL declared its intention to hit the streets three days ahead of the Trade Unions Congress’ (TUC) 10 days ultimatum issued to the PURC and the government to slash the tariff increases to 15 per cent or face a nationwide strike.
The demonstrators started from the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA) and went through some principal streets wielding placards and banners with the inscriptions ‘Wicked People’, ‘We dey die’, ‘Yen Tumi Tua’, ‘We no go pay’, ‘PURC you are killing industries,’ ‘We no go fit pay’, ‘Review the wicked increase’ in the utility tariffs’, among others.
TOL and the leadership of the TUC have resolved to use all legitimate means to get the tariff reduced to levels that workers and Ghanaians can afford.
Mr Wilson Agana, Chairman of TDCL, presented a petition written by the joint group to the TMA Co-ordinating Director, which was received on behalf of the Director by Mr Daniel Nyaho-Darti, TMA Human Resource Manager.
Among other issues, the petition mentioned that ‘failure by government to implement the Automatic Adjustment System on the Utility Tariffs should not be a burden insensitively shifted to workers and Ghanaians.’
According to the petition, transferring the failure and the shortcomings of PURC to the ordinary person is not a universal remedy in solving the inefficiencies and the incompetency of the utility companies and the PURC.
The TDCL chairman added that by the ability to pay mantra, the government only managed to increase public sector pay by just 10 per cent while the National Daily Minimum Wage (NDMW) had a meagre increase of 17 per cent.
Mr Agana emphasised that TOL found the utility price hikes unbearable and unacceptable and thus called on Government and the PURC to reduce the announced increases in accordance with the demands by the TUC and Organised Labour.
He explained that ‘the demonstration was one of the measures to be taken to ‘pressurise the government and the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) to withdraw the cut-throat increase in utility tariffs’.
From Vincent Kubi, Tema
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