Business News of 2014-03-15

Ghana should invest in railway transport – ITF

Ghana has been urged to invest in railway transport as the best alternative means to support urban transportation in the country.

Mr Joseph Katende, the Regional Secretary of the International Transport Workers (ITF), who is leading a two-member delegation on a visit to the Ghana National Coordinating Committee (NCC) of ITF, said the railway sector needs investment that would propel it to function as a reasonable urban transport.

“Our research indicates that there has not been real investment in the railway sector in Ghana for some time now –yet railway is a better option for transportation systems, especially for a country like Ghana which has high rate of road accidents”.

He explained that South Africa has embraced railway transportation and they are moving very fast with their transportation system giving the people the comfort they needed.

Mr Katende, together with Mr Bayla Sow, the ITF Representative for Africa Francophone and ECOWAS Region, visited the Ghana NCC to support the re-organisation of the Ghanaian branch of the NCC, which was revamped in January after long years of dormancy.

The Ghana NCC now has Mr Daniel Owusu-Koranteng, General Secretary of Maritime and Dockworkers Union (MDC), as the Chairman, Mr Iddrisu Fuseini, General Secretary of General Transport Petroleum and Chemical Workers Union (GTPCWU), as Coordinator and Mr Stephen Okudzeto, General Secretary of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) as the Treasurer.

Mr Katende explained that they were in the country to ensure that their “brothers in the transportation sector in Ghana” come on board the ITF, which has had strong roots in Ghana since the latter parts of 1960s to the early 1980s, when its first Africa headquarters was in Ghana.

The Africa Headquarters of ITF is now in Kenya.

However, some Ghanaian affiliate unions lost their membership with the ITF due to some leadership challenges.

The Ghana NCC of ITF used to be active members of the Federation with various transportation organisations like MDC, GTPCWU, GPRTU, National Union of Seamen (NUS), Railway Workers Union, and the Rail and Allied Transport Workers Union.

Mr Katende said ITF, as a global trade union, exist to promote respect for trade union and human rights worldwide, to work for peace based on social justices and economic progress, help its affiliated unions defend the interest of their members and to provide general assistance to transport workers in difficulty.

“The ITF, founded in July 1896 represents the interests of transport workers’ unions in bodies which take decisions affecting jobs, employment conditions or safety in the transport industry, such as the International Labour Organisation (ILO), International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)”.

According to Mr Katende, the ITF organizes international solidarity with transport unions in conflict with employers or government and needed direct help from unions in other countries.

He announced that the next ITF congress would be held in Bulgaria in August 2014 and said over 1300 delegates from member countries all over the world would be attending the 10-day congress.

Mr Owusu-Koranteng, on his part, commended the delegation for coming down to Ghana to help in revamping the Ghana Union.

He said workers in the transportation sector would benefit a lot if they join the ITF and urged them to come back to the Federation.