May Day: Workers in UWR celebrate amidst calls for improved living conditions

Hundreds of workers in the Upper West Region have marked this year's May Day with calls on the government to take steps to improve the living conditions of workers in the country. Addressing the celebrants in Wa on Wednesday, Mr Ibrahim Wemah, the Upper West Regional Chairman of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), called on the government to resolve the challenges in the labour front immediately or face the wrath of organised labour. 'If you fail by the May 6, this year, 2024, if organised labour doesn't receive any message from you, we will advise ourselves. And if you don't stop us, and our brothers in the education sector take the lead, by the 7th of May, if there is a strike, organised labour will join, and if we are joining the strike, our message will be two, one to the National Labour Commission and the other to our employer,' he stated. Mr Wemah explained that they would strike against the National Labour Commission for failing to act to resolve the friction between the organised labour and their em ployer, the government and to also strike against the government for failing to follow the roadmap to solve their challenges. He indicated that when organised labour eventually strikes, it would not call off the strike for negotiations but would continue to strike until their challenges were resolved. Mr Godwin Gariba, the Upper West Regional Secretary of TUC, identified wrongful termination and dismissal from work, denial of employees' right to form or join trade unions of their choice, workplace injuries and death and denial of justice of employees in disputes with their employers as some challenges workers in Ghana faced. 'Wages are so low that you wonder how the employers who pay such wages feel when their employees earn such slave wages. Because of the low wages many retirees are receiving monthly pensions that are so low that they cannot meet even the very basic necessities of life,' he added. Mr Stephen Yakubu, the Upper West Regional Minister, commended the leadership of organised labour and the working class for exercising restraint in dealing with some of the labour issues despite occasional strike actions that raised concerns. He observed that the invaluable services workers rendered, sometimes at high risk, had led to the growth of the nation's economy and sustained development in all sectors over the years. Mr Yakubu urged the workers to continue to exhibit the dedicated spirit of service to further enhance the growth and development of the country. 'Workers' agitations have centred on securing a living wage and better conditions of service and I would like to assure you that this Government remains very much committed to achieving this goal. Leadership of organised labour should focus more on dialogue and negotiation rather than strike or other violent means,' Mr Yakubu explained. Mr Issahaku Tahiru Moomin, the Wa Municipal Chief Executive, acknowledged the importance of a peaceful working environment in attracting investments, promoting entrepreneurship, and advancing social justice. He said creating a peaceful working environment was, however, not without challenges and encouraged the people to employ open dialogue and tolerance in dealing with such challenges including political divisions, economic disparities, and social tensions. This year's May Day celebration is on the theme: 'Election 2024: The Role of Workers and Social Partners in Securing Peaceful Elections for National Development'. It was observed in the region with a route march across some principal streets of Wa and climaxed at the Jubilee Park in Wa with a glamorous performance of the Dagaare traditional dance (Bawaa). Some deserving members of the unions were acknowledged with citations and electronic gadgets such as television for their dedication to work and contribution to the growth of their respective unions. Source: Ghana News Agency