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General News Thu, 31 Oct 2013

PURC ready to dialogue with Labour over utility hikes

The Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission (PURC) says it is ready to engage labour and any other stakeholder groups to discuss the recent hikes in utility prices.

The decision was taken after a meeting between five commissioners on Thursday, the Director of Public Affairs Nana Yaa Jantuah confirmed to Joy News. Labour has sworn to organise a well-coordinated nationwide demonstration and planned a strike to crown it with on November 19, if government fails to reduce the prices of utilities announced on October 1.

Already, labour groups within the regions have started massive mobilisation ahead of the planned demonstration.

But PURC says it is ready to sit with labour and sort the issues out.

A statement issued early on also cautioned all interest groups to direct their grievances relating to utilities to the PURC and not government.

The statement said PURC is an independent organisation and not subject to control by any person or institution.

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Jantuah later said any utility related grievance sent to government instead of the PURC is misplaced.

It is not clear however, when the meeting will be held.

The Secretary General of the TUC, Kofi Asamoah welcomed the decision by the PURC, adding the TUC is open for discussions.

"We will open-heartedly meet with any group," he said, adding that their concern is that the level of increase of utilities cannot be met by labour.

Mr. Asamoah further noted that if the PURC could stagger the tariff increases, they would be grateful and call off the impending strike and demonstrations.

Source: Joy Online
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