Today workers hit the streets to protest high tariff hikes, otherwise referred to as ‘killer tariffs’, and general economic hardship confronting Ghanaians. Government and organised labour have been engaged in a cat-and-mouse game over the subject for some time now.
Nobody in Ghana denies the veracity of the economy being troubled, the repercussions evident in rising cost of living. Ghanaians think that the unsavoury situation is the result of the mismanagement of the economy by the government.
Be it as it may, there is a general downward spiral of the real income of salary earners who think that the so-called single spine salary structure has only worsened their plight rather than ameliorate it as politicians at the helm would want everybody to believe.
The unusual increase in the cost of utilities, coupled with that of petroleum products at a time when the international price of crude oil has been occasioned by an all-time low, have provided the spark for today’s demonstration.
While government maintains that it must go that way in order to cure the ailing economy, labour thinks the level of increase is not only astronomical, but also uncaring about the plight of workers.
It is interesting that government, as it recognises the right of workers to demonstrate, has already served notice that it would not back down on the taxes it has imposed on the energy sector.
We are at a loss therefore over what significant effect the paltry reduction of the tariff hike would bring to workers who under the circumstances pay more to maintain themselves and families.
It is our hope that government’s position is not cast in steel for which reason it cannot be rescinded. Let government reason with the people of Ghana, all of who are feeling the pinch of the challenged economy.
Even as they march in the streets across the country to state their cases – a constitutional right – we call on the law enforcement agents who have been detailed to render them the necessary protection needed under such conditions, not to do anything that would push Ghanaians to revisit a previous demonstration which claimed the eye of a protester.
All eyes would be on the police to see how they manage today’s mission. The last time a demonstration was held, the man who is the Acting IGP today was in-charge of operations.
COP Christian Yohunu has taken over the position from him and it is expected that both would ensure that nothing untoward happens.
We have confidence in the Acting IGP, who has already assured organised labour that he would provide the necessary police support to make the event a successful one and bereft of incidents.
The Greater Accra Regional Police Commander, Dr. Akuffo Damapare, and the Operations Commander, it is our position, would do their best to restore confidence in the law enforcement agency.
We also call on those embarking on the strike action to be mindful about their limitations so that all starts well and ends peacefully.