On Wednesday, January 20, all courts in the country will close for business due to the intended demonstration to be embarked on by organized labour.
Judicial Service Staff Association of Ghana (JUSAG), which is an integral part of organized labour, has asked its members to join the demonstration that seeks to draw the NDC government’s attention to the economic hardship in the country.
In effect, judges cannot sit on cases in the absence of court clerks who are all members of JUSAG.
A statement titled, ‘Demonstration by organized labour,’ issued in Accra and signed by Derrick Annan, General Secretary of JUSAG yesterday, said the leadership of the association was asking members to join the demonstration in compliance with the stance declared by organized labour.
The statement said, “On Wednesday, 20th January, 2016, all members of JUSAG shall join the nationwide demonstration at their respective regions. Members are to put on our JUSAG lacoste and red arm bands.”
It asked “all regional executives to ensure the strict compliance of the press statement by organized labour issued on January 15 and provide members with placards for the event. Also, all regional executives are directed to partake in meetings of organized labour in the respective regions.”
The statement however, asked the security department of the Judicial Service to remain at post to ensure protection and safety of the Service’s property and also asked members to “stay tuned” for further directives after the demonstration.
The Police Administration has given the green light for the much-talked-about demonstration to be staged.
This follows a crunch meeting between the leadership of organized labour led by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and the Greater Accra Police Command at the regional headquarters in Accra yesterday.
The only outstanding issue reportedly left to be sorted out according to a DAILY GUIDE source, was the final meeting place for the demonstrators as the workers are insisting on using the Independence Square in Accra instead of the Hearts Park, to address the workers.
ASP Afia Tenge, Greater Accra Public Relations Officer of the police, said after the close-door meeting, that the police were able to discuss with the leadership of the workers, the routes to be used by the demonstrators.
“Everything went very smooth. The police do not have any problem with what the workers are seeking to do. We have agreed on the routes they are to take,” she said via a telephone interview.
The demonstration in Accra is expected to be replicated in all the regional capitals, according to the organizers.
Welfare And Happiness
TUC Secretary-General Kofi Asamoah at a news conference on Friday had said, “All Ghanaians who believe in the constitutional provision that our welfare and happiness should be paramount in government policy are invited to join the demonstrations.”
He added, “All those who believe we cannot and we should not allow our politicians, whether in parliament or the executive, to take us for granted and to impose all sorts of levies, taxes and fees and prices on us without recourse to our plight and economic circumstances, should come out and join us.”
The recent increases in the prices of petroleum products, killer utility tariffs and the introduction of new taxes have upset the TUC and other labour groups and that is the main reason why they are embarking on the strike.
Labour is asking government to among other issues, withdraw the Energy Sector Levy which they believe had resulted in an ‘astronomical’ and ‘unjustified’ increase in prices of petroleum products at a time the world market price for crude is at an all-time low.
They are particularly incensed that the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) could authorize 59.2% increase in electricity and 67.2% for water at a combined rate of 126.4%.
By William Yaw Owusu