General News of Fri, 9 May 20031
Parliament Commends Ghanaian Workers
Members of Parliament on Thursday congratulated all workers for their hard work and efforts aimed at raising the country from the shackles of poverty to a middle-income status.
Members contended that it was in the nation's interest that the Ghanaian workforce was skilled and healthy to ensure that the labour was competitive on the international market place and to make the nation a more attractive investment destination.
Mr. Victor Okuley Nortey, NPP- Ablekuma Central and Vice Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Employment and Social Welfare, made a statement to Commemorate May Day that fell last week.
The statement though belated received various concerns and support from both the Majority and the Minority sides of the House in solidarity with workers.
He said Legislative backing to the minimum wage would make it enforceable by law to ensure that the rights of workers were protected and at this period of Golden Age of Business, the pointers indicated a soon-to thrive agro-industry based economy.
Mr. Nortey said the best resource a nation could boast of was its quality of human resource and it was only a highly skilled labour force that could ensure increased productivity for the growth of the nation. He said he was associating himself with President John Agyekum Kufuor in his May Day call on employers to fund training schemes to train their employees in order to get the required results from them.
Mr. Nortey said though the economic decisions taken by government to stabilise the economy brought about hardships to workers, it was in the right direction and that all must appreciate that when the economy boomed, workers, employers and government alike would benefit.
The Vice Chairman said the time had come for the Trades Union Congress to be assured that successive governments would take due cognisance of the issue of participation and consultation with organised labour. "With a vibrant Parliament, a combative media as well as a dynamic Civil Society, no government can expect to get away with policies that reject consultations with civil society including labour force", he said.
Mr. Joe Gidisu, NDC-North Tongu, urged the government to be cautious in the implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme and to ensure the involvement of workers before their money were deducted at source.
Mr. B. D. K. Adu, NPP-Okere, urged workers to change their attitude to work adding that their demands should commensurate with their output and that reporting late to work and closing early that had become the trend of the day must be stopped.
Mr. Kosi Kedem, NDC- Hohoe South, said workers were saddled with so many problems and demands such as high medical bills; transportation costs and ever increasing educational cost that were making it difficult for them to cope with.
He, therefore, appealed to the government to do something to improve the salary and wages levels of workers and to cushion them against the hardships so that they could live in dignity and be productive.