Dr. Yaw Baah, TUC Secretary General
THE GHANA Trades Union Congress (TUC) has called on government to employ more pragmatic measures to stem the wide spread of the novel Coronavirus among workers of this country and the citizenry.
In a letter to President Akufo-Addo, dated March 23, this year and signed by Dr Yaw Baah, Secretary General of the TUC, averred, “Mr President, the risk of spread of the virus in Ghana remains high. We need more aggressive measures to protect the people from this deadly virus, including a lockdown if that is what is needed to protect the people. Only workers performing essential services should be allowed to work but they should be adequately protected from the infection.”
The TUC also appealed to the President that “pharmaceutical industry and others that produce basic household supplies must be given financial and fiscal incentives to increase production. We strongly suggest that government should provide sanitizers to all residents in Ghana free of charge or they should be subsidised to make these affordable to everyone, regardless of their income levels. These are extreme measures but they are necessary.”
So far there are 52 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 with two deaths recorded.
In an earlier release issued last week, the TUC complained that hand sanitizers were in short supply and even if these were available, many Ghanaians could not afford these because a significant proportion of Ghanaians were living in poverty.
Also, it noted that running water for hand washing was scarce in most communities adding that “even our health facilities are complaining of insufficient running water. Our transportation system, especially trotro is not designed to for social distancing. Schools have closed and children are at home but parents are commuting to their workplaces in trotro and sharing working tools with their colleagues. Others are interacting with clients.”
It therefore encouraged all unions to work closely with their employers to put in place the necessary measures or arrangements to ensure that workers are fully protected from the virus.
“In particular, we urge all employers to grant leave to workers who need to be home to care for their children until schools re-open. We would also like to appeal to employers to allow workers who can work from home to do so as a means of minimizing interactions at workplaces. “We appreciate the effort government is making to protect all Ghanaians and foreign residents in the country,” it stated.
BY Samuel Boadi