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20 October 2016

Maritime and Dockworkers Union bemoans low levels of incomes

The Maritime and Dockworkers Union of the TUC has held its 12th Quadrennial Delegates’ Conference in Winneba.

Delegates discussed important issues relating to the maritime industry, workers’ rights, the Trade Union Movement, the national economy and the Global situation.

The Union in a statement called on government and its regulatory institutions to give serious consideration to the low levels of incomes of consumers especially workers, in determining tariffs of utilities.

It noted that salary increases of workers do not match the level of increases in the tariffs of utilities, adding that the high tariffs of electricity and water have led to high cost of living and job losses.

The statement expressed worry about the implication of private participation in the distribution of electricity in a concessionaire arrangement for a period of 25 years.

It said the move would undermine national laws and sovereignty and result in the overall increase in the price of electricity.

The statement called on government to abrogate the concessionaire arrangement in energy being implemented by MiDA because it is not in the interest of Ghana.

It also noted that the regulatory framework for the oil and gas industry does not adequately address issues of transparency and accountability.

It therefore called on government to take measures to prevent corruption and exploitation.

Read the full resolution below

RESOLUTION OF THE 12th QUADRENNIAL DELEGATES’ CONFERENCE OF THE MARITIME AND DOCKWORKERS’ UNION (MDU) HELD IN WINNEBA FROM 16TH TO 18TH JUNE 2016

The 12th Quadrennial Delegates’ Conference of the Maritime and Dockworkers’ Union of the Trades Union Congress (Ghana) discussed and adopted the report of the National Executive Council. The 12th Quadrennial Delegates’ Conference deliberated on important issues relating to the maritime industry, workers rights, the Trade Union Movement, the national economy and the Global situation. The 12th Quadrennial Delegates’ Conference hereby resolves as follows:

1. INCREASING COST OF UTILITIES:

The Conference discussed the increasing cost of water and electricity and expressed concern about its effects on living conditions and survival of companies.

The Conference notes further that salary increases of workers have not matched the level of increases in the price of utilities and expresses concern that the high prices of electricity and water have led to high cost of living and job losses.

Conference calls on government and its regulatory institutions to give serious consideration to the low levels of incomes of consumers especially workers in determining tariffs of utilities.

2. PRIVATE PARTICIPATION IN DISTRIBUTION OF ELECTRICITY

Conference expresses deep worry about the implication of the private participation in the distribution of electricity in a concessionaire arrangement for a period of 25 years.

Conference is of the opinion that the concessionaire arrangement would undermine national laws and sovereignty and result in the overall increases of the price of electricity.

Conference notes that the concessionaire arrangement represents yet another neo-colonial attempt to undermine national laws and sovereignty in a bid to control the energy sector and subject it to the dictates of profit maximisation objectives.

Conference calls on government to abrogate the concessionaire arrangement in the electricity sector being implemented by MiDA because it is not in the interest of Ghana.

3. PROBLEMS OF VOLTA LAKE TRANSPORT COMPANY

Conference recognises that the Volta Lake presents a good opportunity for Ghana to develop a strong inland water transport system which would form an integral part of an intermodal transport system for transporting fuel and cargo from the south to northern parts of Ghana in addition to its socio-economic importance as an inland transport system between the north and south of Ghana.

Conference expresses deep concern that the financial and managerial problems of Volta Lake Transport Company (VLTC) have prevented the company from operating at its full potential to boost trade, agricultural production, and tourism among others.

Conference calls on government to invest adequate capital in VLTC and ensure that the company is managed efficiently.

4. ACCIDENTS ON THE VOLTA LAKE

Conference is concerned about accidents occurring on the Volta Lake which claims the lives of innocent people in each occurrence. We call on government to investigate the causes of these accidents so that appropriate measures would be taken to put a stop to the increasing accidents on the Volta Lake.

5. CAPACITY BUILDING IN THE OIL AND GAS SECTOR FOR JOB CREATION

Conference expresses deep worry that Ghana has not reaped maximum benefits from the oil and gas sector in terms of employment opportunities because of the weak capacity for skills development that would be relevant to the oil industry.

Conference calls on government to scale-up skills development for the youth so that they can take advantage of the local content opportunities in the oil and gas sector.

6. WEAK REGULATORY FRAMEWORK FOR OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY

Conference notes that the regulatory framework for the oil and gas industry does not adequately address issues of transparency and accountability in the oil and gas sector.

Conference calls on government to take measures to prevent corruption in the oil and gas sector to avoid a situation where the exploitation of oil and gas would become a curse to the nation.

7. REGULATION OF MICRO FINANCE COMPANIES

Conference notes that lack of regulation of Micro Finance companies has contributed to the problem where many people have lost their savings deposited with Micro Finance companies.

Conference calls on government to develop strong laws to regulate the increasing Micro Finance companies and ensure adequate monitoring of these institutions.

8. CASUALISATION OF JOBS

Conference had an extensive discussion of the increasing casualisation of jobs in the maritime sector.

Conference notes that the casualisation of jobs has contributed to marginalisation and job insecurity for sections of maritime employees.

Conference expresses deep concern about the weak legal protection of the rights of casual and contract workers resulting in job insecurity for sections of maritime employees.

Conference calls on state institutions such as the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations and the National Labour Commission to ensure adequate legal protection for vulnerable workers.

Conference further calls for the review of the Labour Act, Act 651 of 2003 to strengthen the labour laws for the protection of the rights of vulnerable workers.

9. Exemption of tax on Overtime

Conference notes that the maritime industry depends on overtime and maritime workers make tremendous sacrifices to increase productivity in the maritime industry.

Conference notes further that maritime employees had previously benefited from tax exemption on overtime.
Conference calls on government to re-introduce tax exemption on overtime for maritime employees.

10. Floods in Accra

Conference expresses deep worry about the annual floods especially in Accra and other parts of Ghana and calls on government to take measures to address the causes of the regular floods in the country.

11. Re-employment of former employees of Destination Inspection Companies (DICs)

Conference notes that the non-renewal of the licences of the five Destination companies resulted in the loss of jobs for about 500 who have been trained and gained experience in classification and valuation of imported cargoes.

Conference notes further that the Maritime and Dockworkers’ Union (MDU) had made efforts through the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations and the Chief of Staff to seek the integration of these highly skilled and competent redundant employees in the new National Single Window system which replaced the Destination Inspection without success.

Conference calls on government to work with MDU in the integration of the highly skilled and competent redundant employees in the new system to enhance revenue collection from importers.

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