Ghana TUC on AMA’s street decongestion exercise

The Ghana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) has appealed to the Accra Metropolitan Authority (AMA) to consider the broader ramifications of the decongestion exercise in order to put in place measures that would create alternative livelihood for the hawkers.

In a statement issued on Tuesday and copied to the Ghana News Agency on Tuesday, the GTUC said, if care was not taken, “…at the end of the day, the exercise will create other problems that will be much more difficult to deal with than the problem of hawking on our streets.”

It said though the intensions of the AMA were laudable and must be supported by all well-meaning Ghanaians, the fact also remains that most street hawkers depend solely on the little revenue they generate from their hawking activities to fend for themselves and in some cases their families, sometimes including extended families.

“Any attempt, therefore, to remove them from the street without alternative livelihood, may push them into activities that could have serious repercussions on the peace and security of Ghanaian society as a whole.”

The statement said it was the view of the Ghana TUC that the assemblies holistically tackled the congestion of our cities in a way that would ensure that the canker was dealt with once and for all “rather than the piecemeal, erratic unsustainable and inhuman approach that is often adopted as and when it suits the assemblies.”

It said the view of the assemblies and the Government that the congestion of our cities was due to the activities of street hawkers could not be disputed.

But the TUC said it was also “a reflection of the absence and failure to put in place the appropriate macro-economic and explicit employment creation and business development policies needed to deal with the general question of providing decent work for the people.”

The statement advised that any move towards the achievement of removing hawkers from the street must take into account, intensive education aimed at changing the attitude of street hawkers and providing them with alternative livelihood.

It said Government has the responsibility to provide conducive macro-economic, social and legal frameworks for large-scale creation of sustainable, decent work and to place decent employment at the centre of economic and social development policies for poverty reduction.

“We recognise that there are no easy solutions to these challenges; but we elect governments with considerable executive power in order precisely that they may solve these problems.

“The Ghana TUC condemns the brutalities meted out to the street hawkers and expresses its solidarity with the victims.

“We demand an immediate enquiry into these brutalities and the punishment of the perpetrators.

“Our concerns remain the need for broad and comprehensive policy framework to deal with the situation; alternative livelihood for the street hawkers; government’s responsibility in providing jobs and solving the problem in the long-term,” the statement said.

Source: GNA

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