Ghanaian workers on Friday commemorated International Labour Day with an appeal to President John Dramani Mahama to end the ongoing power crisis (dumsor) to help save industries from collapsing.
Across-section of workers that the Ghana News Agency spoke to at this year’s May Day Parade at the Independence Square in Accra, expressed their dissatisfaction over the government’s inability to address the power situation all this while.
The Workers expressed reservation about the rampant power outages, which had led to the laying of workers by some companies leading to an untold hardship to many families.
Mr Samuel Amu, a staff of the Ghana Water Company appealed to government to quickly address the energy crisis to save companies from folding up.
He also urged the government to concentrate on improving working conditions and salaries of workers; “under the single spine regime, workers’ salaries are still woefully inadequate, coupled with the hard economic conditions in the country was killing many workers”.
He appealed to government to look into the issue of pensions, since the salaries of pensioners in the country was nothing to write home about.
Mr Amu suggested that a housing scheme be set-up so that retiring Social Security contributors could have homes to purchase in their retirement.
Mr Joe Konney, a staff of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust also appealed to government to revisit the issue of salaries and pensions, to ensure that the average Ghanaian worker retires in dignity.
He also expressed concern over the rampant power outages in the country and urged government to resolve it.
Ms Martha Amponsah of the Coalition of Concerned Citizens also expressed similar sentiments; and appealed to government to address water shortage in the Kasoa area.
Other workers, who made appeals to government on the energy crisis and the issues of pensions, were Mr Samuel Aboagye of Ghacem and Mr Frank Sammy Abban of Mankoadze Fisheries Company Limited.
The theme for the celebration was; “Addressing the Energy Crisis: The Role of Organised Labour,” had President Mahama as the Guest of Honour; with Mr Kofi Asamoah, Secretary General of the Ghana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) giving the May Day Address.
The colourful parade was attended by member unions of the GTUC, who danced and marched to the tune of brass band music and carrying placards.
International Workers’ Day (also known as May Day) is a celebration of the international labour movement and left-wing movements.
It commonly sees organized street demonstrations and marches by working people and their labour unions throughout most of the world. May 1 is a national holiday in more than 80 countries. It is also celebrated unofficially in many other countries.
International Workers’ Day is the commemoration of the 1886 Haymarket Massacre in Chicago, when Chicago police fired on workers during a general strike over the eight hour workday, killing several demonstrators and resulting in the deaths of several police officers, largely from friendly fire.
In 1889, the first congress of the Second International, meeting in Paris for the centennial of the French Revolution and the Exposition Universelle, following a proposal by Raymond Lavigne, called for international demonstrations on the 1890 anniversary of the Chicago protests.
May Day was formally recognized as an annual event at its International second congress in 1891.
In many countries, the working class sought to make May Day an official holiday, and their efforts largely succeeded.
May Day has long been a focal point for demonstrations by various socialist, communist and anarchist groups. In some circles, bonfires are lit in commemoration of the Haymarket martyrs, usually at dawn.
May Day has been an important official holiday in Communist countries such as the People’s Republic of China, Cuba and the former Soviet Union.
May Day celebrations typically feature elaborate popular and military parades in these countries.