The Textile, Garment and Leather Employees Union (TGLEU) has described the recent measures announced by the Minister for Trade and Industry to deal with the influx of pirated textiles as recycled promises government has consistently reneged on.
Alan Kyerematen last week announced that government would release the long-promised stimulus packages to the companies in the textile industry and dispatch anti-piracy task force into markets to scout and confiscate pirated textiles.
He also said the Trade Ministry will liaise with Finance Ministry to roll out tax stamp on authorized prints and also restrict imports, setting September 1, 2018 for government to implement the measures.
At a news conference in Accra, General Secretary of the TGLEU Abraham Koomson said though the measures are good, they are skeptical about government’s commitment to fulfil the promises.
“These are recycled promises. They have promised these over and over again. But they have not fulfilled them. So we are not overly excited about the said promises. If the workers don’t sustain the pressure they will wait till 2020 when elections will be held then they will do something,” he stated.
He added: “Me, I am not very sure that the Minister, Alan Kyerematen is committed to what he has put out there. He has done it just to play it fast on these young guys who are determined to fight for their jobs. So we have to remind them of the September 1 deadline they have given. If they fail, the workers would take their protests to the flagstaff house the next day.”
Last week, the Trade Minister also accused TGLEU of boycotting a meeting to announce the said measures following a wave of workers’ protests. The Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) which is the mother union for staff of two textile companies participated in the said meeting.
According to Mr. Kyerematen, it is regrettable that although TGLEU and its members were invited, but boycotted the meeting for unexplained reasons.
But General Secretary of TGLEU countered that position also accusing the Trade Minister of being economical with the truth.
“TGLEU has been more concerned than any trade union in this country as far as the struggle against pirated textiles is concerned. The establishment of the taskforce was at the instance of TGLEU. For the Minister out of the blue to arrange that meeting without even informing us that it was not an ordinary meeting but a joint press conference we saw that we were going to be ambushed to be committed to a position which will not be good for the industry.
“He also made a statement that TGLEU refused to attend the press conference and suggested that ICU is holding majority of the textile workers. It’s unfortunate for the Minister to get involved in trade union matters. If the intention is to break the front of the workers it will not work. We will never be divided,” said Mr. Koomson.
Currently the workforce of the textile industry has reduced from 30,000 to 3,000. Many of the textile companies reeling under huge debts have not been able to pay their workers for at least three months now.