The plight of a Ghanaian worker

May Day Art Work File Photo

Mon, 1 May 2023 Source: Kwaku Badu

We would like to take this opportunity to express our heartfelt gratitude to the thousands of Ghanaian workers for their unwavering dedication and commitment towards nation building in spite of the insurmountable exigencies.

Over the years, work has contributed considerably to impressive progress in human development. However the progress has been uneven with significant human deprivations and large human potentials remain unused (UNDP 2015).

In the grand scheme of things, policy options for enhancing human development through work have to be built around three broad clusters: (1) creating more work opportunities to expand work choices, (2) ensuring workers’ well-being to reinforce a positive link between work and human development and (3) targeted actions to address the challenges of specific groups and contexts.

Besides, an agenda for action to build momentum for change is needed pursuing a three-pillar approach—a New Social Contract, a Global Deal and the Decent Work Agenda (UNDP, 2015).

“Work is intrinsic to human development. From a human development perspective, the notion of work is broader and deeper than that of jobs or employment alone” (HDR 2015).

As a matter of fact and observation, when positive, work provides benefits beyond material wealth and fosters community, knowledge, strengthens dignity and inclusion. Nearly a billion workers in agriculture, 450 million entrepreneurs, 80 million workers in health and education, 53 million domestic workers, 970 million voluntary workers contribute to human progress globally (HDR).

Regrettably, however, over the years, a Ghanaian worker has received a raw deal, and continues to work through unfavourable working conditions despite dint of effort.

In recent years, there have been countless strike actions as a result of fruitless contract negotiations between the hiring authorities and the employees.

Take, for instance, somewhere in 2015, the medical doctors working in the country’s health centres quit their consulting rooms indefinitely and threatened to carry out mass resignations if the Mahama government failed to improve their conditions of service.

A few days after the medical doctors’ agitation, pharmacists and psychiatric nurses left their posts, requesting improved working conditions and unpaid allowances and salaries.

Moreover, following unsuccessful talks, teachers in public universities declared an indefinite strike to demand payment of their 2014 and 2015 book and research allowances.

According to the university teachers association, the Mahama government egregiously failed to acknowledge receipt of several letters they have written requesting payment of the allowances, which led to their decision to boycott the lecture rooms.

The then president of the association, Dr Samuel Ofori Bekoe, stated in a statement: “We will not take part in any academic work until our demands are met.”

Dearest reader, if you may recollect, somewhere in 2014, the university teachers declared a similar strike, lasting five weeks, which was to compel the government to release the book and research allowances.

In the same year, teachers and education workers union warned the NDC administration it might also join the strike bandwagon if issues about their conditions of service were not addressed.

Besides, about 3,000 mid-wives and nurses in the country also threatened to occupy the finance and health ministries if the Mahama government failed to pay their allowances and salaries.

But despite public outcry for the erstwhile NDC government to address the pressing issues in the public sector, especially, the health area, the Mahama administration blatantly failed to act.

Suffice it to state that the doctors were incensed by former President Mahama’s lack of concern and vowed to intensify their strike action by withdrawing emergency services (see: www.theafricareport.com/West-Africa/labour-unrest-rocks-ghanas-public-sector.html).

So, who says that all politicians have the wellbeing of an ordinary Ghanaian worker at heart?

Ayekoo, you courageous and hard working men and women out there!!!

K. Badu, UK.


Columnist: Kwaku Badu