Some of the demonstrators
Outraged workers in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis, who hit the streets yesterday in a nationwide protest declared by organized labour over the unbearable cost of living in the country, became more upset when they realized that neither the Western Regional Minister nor his deputy was around to receive their petition.
The irate workers, who marched through the principal streets of Sekondi-Takoradi for about three hours, later converged at the entrance of the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) to present a petition to the Regional Minister.
Upon reaching the entrance of the RCC, the visibly angry workers insisted that they wanted to see the Regional Minister, but they were prevented from entering the premises by the police.
The leadership of the workers was however, allowed to go to the minister’s office to present the petition on behalf of the workers.
But to the utter dismay of the leaders, both the regional minister, Paul Evans Aidoo and his deputy, Alfred Ekow Gyan, were not at post to receive the document.
Mr Osei Assibey Antwi, Reg chair of ICU addressing the workers
It was rather the Regional Coordinating Director, Solomon Asiedu, who came to receive the petition.
Mr Asiedu explained that the regional minister had travelled to his constituency, Sefwi Wiawso, while the deputy was also in Accra on official duties.
Most of the workers were not enthused about the turn of events and wondered whether the minister and his deputy respected workers in the region.
The protesters alleged that the two ministers were aware of the presentation of the petition through them to the president and that they even saw the deputy minister at a programme a day before the demonstration.
Osei Assibey Antwi, regional chairman of the Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), who was visibly angry, could not fathom why at the national front President John Mahama had to travel and at the regional level too, they were told the minister and his deputy had also traveled.
“I don’t want to suspect that the ministers do not respect Ghanaian workers. I don’t want to think that way, but if they give us the cause to think that way, then we are in for trouble,” he indicated.
Hundreds of members of organized labour in the metropolis gathered at the Takoradi Jubilee Park as early as 7:00 am to take part in the demonstration, which was simultaneously organized nationwide.
Most of the workers wore red attires, red arm bands and were accompanied by brass band music. Police personnel were positioned at vantage points in the twin city to maintain law and order.
The exercise was also a protest against the refusal of government to reduce the recent increases in utility tariffs.
The workers held placards with inscriptions, ‘Too much taxes on the public worker,’ ‘John Mahama, Governance is about the development of the citizenry’ and ‘Some Dey Chop Some Dey Suffer.’
The rest were ‘10% salary increase over 136% utility increases,’ ‘Big taxes, small salaries,’ ‘fuel price is too high, so reduce it’ and ‘Health Insurance Is Dying.’
“We want the government to recognize our plight; the essence of the demonstration is to make the government feel what we feel,” a driver at Sekondi who joined the protest, remarked.
The Western Regional Secretary of TUC, Mr. Ellis Ankomah, said organized labour was demonstrating against the economic hardship occasioned by hikes in prices of petroleum products and utility tariffs and called on the president to withdraw the Petroleum Tax that had caused petroleum prices to soar.
From Emmanuel Opoku, Takoradi