General News of Tuesday, 29 December 2015
President John Mahama has authorized a meeting with Organised Labour after hikes in utility tariffs sent ripples of discontent among public sector workers.
Employment Minister Haruna Iddrisu confirmed the January 5, 2016 meeting to Joy News Tuesday.
The government team is expected to dialogue with Ghana Employment Association, Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) and Trades Union Congress.
Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) announced in early December, electricity and water tariffs would go up by 59.2% and 67.2% respectively.
Labour haboured hopes that PURC would announce an increase not exceeding 50 percent even though the utility companies proposed an increase of between 129 and 400 percent.
“We also expected the implementation of any new tariffs to start next year,” Organised Labour said in a statement.
It was signed by TUC General Secretary, Kofi Asamoah, and representatives of Ghana Federation of Labour (GFL), Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union (ICU), National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Ghana Medical Association (GMA), Judicial Services Staff Association of Ghana (JUSAG) and the Coalition Of Concerned Teachers (CCT).
The PURC’s Executive Secretary, Samuel Sarpong, has however explained, the new tariffs have already been gazetted and hence cannot be changed.
“When a tariff is gazetted, it becomes effective,” he explained.
Documents from the Office of the Chief of Staff, sighted by Joy News suggest that government has now taken over the negotiations.
“We need to get a middle ground”, Haruna Iddrisu told Joy FM.