Tema labour group goes on demonstration against tariff increment
More than 500 members of Tema District Council of Labour (TDCL), on Thursday, embarked on a peaceful demonstration in Tema Metropolis to back their demand for a reduction in the recent increment in utility tariffs.
The demonstration christened: “Yen tumi tua”, was in response to the failure of government and the Public Utility Regulatory Commission PURC to heed to the demand of organised labour to go back to the use of the automatic adjustment system instead of the announced 52 per cent tariff increment for water and 78.9 per cent for electricity.
The demonstrators, who were drawn from both public and private workers’ unions in the Metropolis, were clad in red attires with red hand and head bands to match.
Some of their placards read, “We no go pay”, “This is killer increment”, “listen to the cry of the ordinary”, “We dey die kekee”, and “Reduce the tariffs now”.
At about 0800 hours, the demonstrators gathered at the Twedaase JHS Park, where they danced to brass band music.
Led by their chairman, Mr Wilson Agana, the demonstrators started the protest march from the park towards the street in front of the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA) but they were however restrained by police personnel numbered about 100.
The personnel, who were wearing helmets, bulletproof vests and carrying truncheons and guns, barricaded the road and pushed the demonstrators back to the park.
The leadership of the TDCL led by its Chairman, Mr Agana then had consultations with Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Maxwell Atingane, Tema Regional Police Commander on a court suit the Police has served on the TDCL to restrain them from embarking on the protestation.
Both the TDCL leadership and the Police Command then proceeded to the Tema Circuit Court were the presiding judge declared that the demonstrators can embark on the protestation.
At about 0930 hours, the TDCL leaders returned and informed their members of the court decision to allow them to embark on the demonstration, which they responded with jubilation.
After reorganising themselves, the one and a half hour demonstration started at about 0940 hours through the principal streets of Tema Community one (city centre).
As they demonstrated, some residents, drivers and traders among others cheered them on while others joined.
Some of the demonstrators threw their hands over their heads while shouting “ye wuo” meaning “we are dying” and “yen tua’ meaning, “we won’t pay”.
The demonstrators later gathered at the forecourt of the TMA were Mr Agana presented a copy of the TDCL’s resolution to Mr Daniel Nyaho Darti, Human Resource Officer of the Assembly.
The resolution stated that the TDCL bemoaned the adverse social and economic effects of the utilities tariff hike on workers and their families.
“The TDCL finds it unacceptable, the hardship brought on working people of Ghana by the actions of government and the PURC through its unjustifiable utility price increase,” it stated.
It stated that the consequences of the failure by government to implement the automatic adjustment system on utility tariffs should not be shifted to workers and Ghanaians at large.
The resolution also stated the readiness of the TDCL to endorse and support the position of the Trades Union Congress and organised labour on the utility tariffs hike.
Mr Darti, who received the petition on behalf of the Coordinating Director of the TMA, promised to forward the concerns to the authorities.