General News of 2014-07-22

We wish labour will call off strike- Labour Minister

Employment and Labour Relations Minister, Haruna Iddrisu says government is engaging organised labour with the hope of talking them out of an intended nationwide demonstration on Thursday.

"The wish of government is that this strike shouldn't happen," he revealed in an interview with Joy News Editor, Dzifa Bampoh.

Ahead of the planned demonstration on Thursday, members of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) have hit the streets protesting harsh living conditions in the country.

Over 500 of the workers embarked on the demonstration on Monday, red-eyed chanting and blaming the government for their poor living standards.

The workers cite the increasing fall of the local currency, hikes in utility and fuel prices as some of the conditions which have made life uncomfortable for them

Given the current situation in the economy, the angry workers project over 4,000 workers may lose their jobs in September 2014.

General Secretary of the ICU, Solomon Kotei, said the "bad monetary and fiscal challenges" is to blame for their problems.

He said many companies are collapsing, with threats by employers to retrench more workers.

In a petition to government, which was presented through the Tema Metropolitan Assembly, the workers said something has to be done fast to save them from the crippling situation they find themselves in.

The Metropolitan Chief Executive Isaac Odamten welcomed the aggrieved workers and promised to forward their grievances to the president.

He told Joy News he has taken immediate steps to bring the concerns of the workers to the attention of the president.

He assured the workers that "there is hope" even in the difficult situation and cautioned the workers not to "throw the baby away with the bad water."

We believe in the ability of the president to resolve the problems, he stated.

Reechoing the concerns of the Tema MCE, the Employment Minister Haruna Iddrisu said they are engaging with labour to address their grievances.

He would however not disclose the extent of engagement except to wish that the workers would call off the strike.

He assured however that government is working assiduously to resolve the grievances of the workers.