Four political parties have stressed the need for the government to tackle the challenges posed by COVID-19 to enable the country to navigate with certainty into an immediate future of hope.
They have also stated that the novel COVID-19 pandemic has brought about the need to be self-reliant as individual citizens and as a nation.
The parties are the National Democratic Party (NDP), the Convention People’s Party (CPP), the Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG) and the United Progressive Party (UPP).
In a goodwill message to workers in commemoration of Workers Day, the acting General Secretary of the CPP, Mr James Kwabena Bomfeh Jnr, said the incidence of the novel COVID-19 presents the world with the challenge of rethinking everything including work, the economies of the world, structure and style of governance, as well as the unrestrained exploitation of natural resources for the use of humankind.
He commended Ghanaian workers both home and abroad for their immense contribution to nation-building, stressing that “no nation or organisation has prospered without an active working population.”
He made special mention of health and medical allied workers who had kept the hopes of many alive during these trying times of COVID-19.
“It was in recognition of the role and phenomenal contribution of workers that the founding President donated on behalf of the State to workers and the Trades Union Congress, the TUC headquarters in Accra to coordinate and administer the affairs of the union,” he stated.
Akwasi Addai Odike — Leader of UPP and John Amekah — Chairman, LPG
While advancing the rights of workers, he urged workers to be responsible in carrying out their part in building the nation.
“Rights come with responsibilities and it is incumbent on our labour front to be conscious of that. Workers must not only be concerned with the material gains of salary increases or bonuses but you must also seek training and retraining to add to your knowledge and skills to compete better in today’s ever competitive job market,” he added.
Mr Bomfeh Jnr also appealed to the government to advance the interests of Ghanaian workers especially in budgeting, signing contracts and enforcing the Labour Law.
For its part, the NDP stressed the need for the government to tackle the challenges posed by COVID-19 to enable the country to navigate with certainty into an immediate future of hope.
The General Secretary of the NDP, Alhaji Mohammed Frimpong, said was because it was estimated that redundancies could rise as high as 70 per cent.
He therefore, urged the leadership of various labour unions to collaborate with the government and the scientific community to mitigate the ravages of COVID-19 on the national economy.
He said amid the WHO COVID-19 alarm bells of caution, particularly, to Africa, it stood to reason that workers should be at the forefront to safeguard the economy from being whittled away.
“Indeed, it is not the time for any adversarial attitude and approach in the quest for collective wellbeing as we sail on the rough waters of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Let us stay steadfast in our common objective of overcoming the present COVID-19 pandemic to pave the way for our collective national wellbeing,” he stated.
The Chairman of the Liberal Party of Ghana, Mr John Amekah, said governments all over the world were obliged to make livelihood of citizens easy and comfortable. But when the fundamentals to make such livelihoods were weak, issues such as COVID-19 exposed the workers to hard living conditions in times of crisis.
He expressed solidarity with all those who were undergoing hardship due to job losses.
He said the COVID-19 pandemic, apart from creating unemployment, had also exposed the weak social interventions in the country.
Mr Amekah expressed the hope that SSNIT would find ways to support contributors to open more doors to people who were not enrolled on payment to start contributing to the scheme.
The leader and founder of the United Progressive Party, Mr Akwasi Addai Odike, urged the SSNIT to intervene to pay the salaries of institutions contributing to the scheme to prevent those institutions laying off staff, reports Felix A. Baidoo from Kumasi
He said SSNIT could pay 20 per cent of the salaries or wages of the staff who were in line to be laid off while the remaining 80 per cent could be pumped into the distressed institutions.
He called on employers to ensure that they provided all their employees with the right personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect them from the COVID-19 pandemic and other forms of hazards that might be available at their workplaces.
Mr Odike reminded workers to ensure their own safety and good health first by abiding by all the laid down protocols and regulations outlined for protection against the spread of the pandemic.