Positive union leadership the way forward for Ghana

Tue, 13 May 2014 Source: Dekportor, Mensah

The Secretary General of the TUC Mr. Kofi Asamoah has recently been reported as referring to the Ghanaian economy as deformed among other negative references of the economy that has been ascribed to him. In as much as one acknowledges that the economy of Ghana is going through challenges presently, it is rather unfortunate for a union leader privy to all vital information on the economy to be playing to the gallery with populist pronouncements on the economy at this critical moment.

Vital economic information relating to the public sector wage bill that has become a huge burden on the economy, due to government policy aimed at satisfying public sector workers through the single spine pay policy, are all not unknown to Mr. Kofi Asamoah. In most advanced economies a policy such as the single spine policy would have been implemented alongside labour retrenchment in order to reduce the impact of its implementation on the economy.

The TUC General Secretary should therefore recognize the fact that the huge public sector wage bill is a significant contributory factor to the challenges that the Ghanaian economy is facing. Persistent wage demands on Government purse by the TUC results in worsening the state of the economy and the very workers that the TUC represents.

It should be clear by now to Mr. Kofi Asamoah that the government revenue basket is not a bottomless pit into which one can consistently make demands without worsening the country’s deficit position. A worsened deficit position causes government to impose harsh measures on the Ghanaian public through revenue generation measures such as removal of subsidies on fuel, electricity, water etc. and increases in taxes which subsequently worsens the plight of workers and the public in general.

The TUC secretary General should therefore offer responsible leadership and dialogue with government for modest improvements in workers salaries and emoluments that would not burden the economy and eventually bring further hardship on workers.

Besides, Mr. Kofi Asamoah and the TUC should also come up with innovative policies that would enhance the welfare of their union members besides what government is doing for workers.

What for instance is the TUC doing with all the union dues it is collecting from workers?How much accountability is going on now as regards the huge sums of money collected in union dues monthly from workers? What investments can Mr. Kofi Asamoah and the TUC leadership point to that they have initiated to help workers through the utilization of the huge sums of union dues that they collect from workers.

Is it not possible for instance for the TUC to mobilize funds to initiate its own housing programme for workers to compliment government efforts at providing housing for workers and thus help improve the living conditions of workers?

Mr. Kofi Asamoah should realize that in this period of diminishing public sector funds, responsible and innovative union leadership is what will help improve the welfare of the Ghanaian worker and the economy of Ghana . The era of confrontational union leadership is fast fading around the world. In this regard, one must commend the leadership of GNAT for its innovative leadership which has resulted in positive investments by GNAT in the Ghanaian economy for the benefit of its union members and the general public.

Investments in hostels, GNAT Heights and in the financial services sector are a good pointer to progressive union leadership that Kofi Asamoah and the TUC should emulate for the benefit of its members and the economy in general.

Yes workers need government to do its part in enhancing the welfare of workers, but union leadership should offer better and innovative leadership by initiating programmes aimed at improving the welfare of workers to compliment what can be secured from Government for workers. In this regard workers should begin to demand greater accountability from their leadership as regards the use to which their union dues are being utilized.

The TUC and its leadership for instance have no excuse for not having in place a housing programme for its members utilizing portions of huge funds it collects in union dues every month from workers. If such a policy had been initiated say 10 years ago the TUC would have thousands of houses constructed for the benefit of workers by now. The way forward for workers therefore is progressive and creative union leadership for the benefit of workers. Continuous reliance on government and the national purse alone as a means to improve the welfare of workers is not a prudent strategy for union leadership going forward.

God Bless Our Nation Ghana, Long Live Ghana Trade Union Congress.


Germany - NDC Communication Director

Email: cmdkportor@gmail.com

Columnist: Dekportor, Mensah