General News of Monday, 17 September 2018
Employees under the Youth-In-Afforestation programme, are demanding their stalled allowances from the Forestry Commission (FC) and also protesting against a decision to slash their wages from GHS1,200 to GHS700.
The programme was initiated by the Akufo-Addo government, as part of efforts to reduce the unemployment rate in the country.
The youth say they are owed arrears for three months, a situation that is making life unbearable for them.
In a petition to the Forestry Commission, they said: “In exercise of our contractual rights, we write to bring to your notice our displeasure of the Commission’s failure to pay monthly allowances due us for the past 3 months. It is very embarrassing to learn that the Youth-In-Afforestation programme, which is an internationally-funded programme, has been left to remain in administrative quagmire as far as benefits are concerned.
“This petition is grounded on the fact that we have been subjected to numerous requests for personal data, which we have willingly complied with and the information requested is just repetitive, and, thus, we do not, in our opinion, think it is necessary to be collecting same data multiple times.
“The Commission’s failure to pay us for the months of June, July and August 2018 for all ranks, despite the fulfillment of our obligation, has cost us and our families, bringing continuous hardship in our lives.
“Further to our disappointment, a staff working as a Public Relations Officer had granted interviews to some press to spew falsehood that payments of allowance have been done for June, July and August 2018. We consider this as part of the political propaganda and deceit of some senior staff of the Commission in order ridicule us and undermine our respect.”
They added: “We have also seen a circular from the top hierarchy of the Commission purporting to cut down our allowances with effect from 1 October 2018. This downward-slash decision was taken without due recognition and consultation from us who are regarded as the major stakeholders of the Youth-In-Afforestation programme. We consider this current move as a blatant attempt to force out many of the youth from the programme since we would not be able to cope with the new revised allowances.
“As far as our immediate need of allowances are concerned, we are by this petition making a strong demand from the Commission, as a matter of urgency, pay us for the said period that we have worked by the close of work on Tuesday, 18 September 2018. Failure to do so will make us not hesitate in taking the next line of action.”