Ghana's labour unions protest tax rises

Ghana's labour unions march to protest tax rises on utility tariffs and petrol prices in capital Accra

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Ghana's workers protest price rises

Thousands of Ghanian workers gathered on Wednesday in capital Accra to protest recent hikes of utility tariffs such as water and electricity and petrol prices.

At least 3,500 people joined the demonstration in Accra alongside other protests that took place in regional centres across the West African country.

 “Organised Labour is asking government to reduce the rate of utility tariff increases from their current levels to 50 percent for both electricity and water”, said Kofi Asamoah, the secretary general of the Trades Union Congress of Ghana, when he was addressing demonstrators.

According to the head of Business Development from the IMANI Centre for Policy and Education Ghana, Aboagye Mintah, the tariff for electricity increased by 59.2 percent while the tariff for water increased by 67.2 in 2015 alone.

Labour unions also announced they will set up a strike on Thursday and Friday to push the government into reducing the tariffs. 

Government's reaction

Employment and Labour Relations Minister Haruna Iddrissu said the Ghanian government is not happy with the union’s decision to continue protests despite efforts to solve their problems in the negotitation in which both protesters and members of government participated. 

He said, "and that is what displeases me personally about their intended declared action to proceed on a demonstration and strike action while negotiations are ongoing. It's like negotiating with a gun to your head."

Ghana is faced with many economical problems ahead of the presidential election that will be held in November 2016.

Tough competition is expected to be seen in the election between the candidate of National Democratic Congress, current president John Dramani Mahama and opposition New Patriotic Party’s candidate Nana Akufo Addo.

TRTWorld and agencies