A cross-section of workers in the Western Region on Monday converged at the Tarkwa Senior High School Park in Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipality to join this year's International Worker's Day celebration.

Some of the placards the workers carried had inscriptions like; "Mining companies stop interfering in the unionization of workers", "The Ghanaian miner faces uncertain future under contract mining-Government please intervene now!" and "Yaw Safo Marfo we need your report on pension".

The rest are; "30% salary increase for 2023 not enough", "Pensioners are dying because of DDEP", "Bridge pension gaps, employment minister“ and "Minimum pension is too low".

The theme for this year's celebration was "Protecting incomes and pensions in an era of economic crisis; our responsibility."

The occasion was used to reward 19 workers from Teachers and Education Workers Union (TEWU), Public Service Workers Union (PSWU), Industrial and Commercial Workers Union, General Agricultural Workers Union, Judicial Service Staff Association of Ghana (JUSAG), Ghana Private Road Transport (GPRTU), Maritime and Dockworkers Union (MDU).

Each awardee from the national unions and associations received a 43-inch television and a citation.

Addressing the gathering before the parade, the Western Regional Minister, Mr Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, congratulated all workers for their contribution to the socio-economic development of the country.

He said they were all aware of the current economic crisis they faced as a country, and added that the situation was one that the entire world was affected leaving many people struggling to protect their incomes and Jobs.

"However, we in Ghana cannot underestimate your immense contributions and commitments towards the development of the Western Region and the country as a whole".

Mr Darko-Mensah called on organised labour to continue working hand in hand with Government in all aspects to build the Ghana that we want.

On the theme, he said it befitted the current economic situation. "It is for the very reason why the Government is leaving no stone unturned not to disadvantage workers".

He explained that "When it became necessary for the Government to take certain critical decisions to help the country get out of the situation we found ourselves through Domestic Debt Structuring, wide consultations were made and at the end, the government listened to the voices of those who did not want to be part of that process, though great in roles were made in that direction and their incomes or investments were not touched or protected".

According to the Regional Minister, the government over the years had advocated and implemented policies that protected workers' rights and ensured that everyone had access to a secure retirement investment including, advocating stronger labour laws, better social protections, and a more equitable distribution of wealth.

"In endeavoring to ensure a safer net for workers, they have strived to fulfill the Employer’s obligations under Act 766 to enable Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) pay benefits to members and beneficiaries' nominees when they fall due to make pension life easier," he noted.

As Government, Mr Darko-Mensah said they had implemented initiatives to protect households’ earnings, provided support to local businesses and entrepreneurs and invested in key infrastructures that provided opportunities for people in the country. 

In the face of minimizing unemployment in the Western Region, they have started preaching new work opportunities and ideas to businessmen and women in the workspace for the youth to benefit.

He said through Ghana Enterprise Agency and as part of Government efforts to restore the economy post COVID-19, launched the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CapBuss) and earmarked GH₵750,000,000 for Macro Small and Medium Enterprises to provide relief to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on MSMEs.

He announced that the GEA disbursedGH₵447,012,072.17 and the total number of beneficiaries in the region was 20,561 with an amount of GH₵23,207,477. This contributed significantly to job retention and creation.

The Western Regional Chairman of Trades Union Congress (TUC), Mr Charles Thompson appealed to the government to work on the road network in the Western Region to increase productivity.

He also called on the government to revamp the most ingenious companies such as Bonsa trye and Abosso glass factories in the Tarkwa-Nsuaem and Prestea Huni-Valley Municipalities to create more job opportunities for the teaming youth.

"We believe the government has the capacity to revive these companies as it would help change the fortunes of the region" he added.

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