Distressed youth who are enrolled onto the ‘Youth in Afforestation’ programme in the Ashanti Region, have given the government up to Friday to pay monies owed them.

A group of them who picketed the Jubilee Park in Kumasi Wednesday, under the umbrella ‘Coalition of Youth in Afforestation’ say they are owed four to eight-month stipends.

The leaders of the group say they want the Forestry Commission to pay the entire arrears owed them. “We do not want them to pay only two months and leave the rest,” one of the leaders told JoyNews.

Breach of contract

The youth have also claimed a breach of contract by the government.

According to them, their contract “explicitly states” the amounts they are entitled to be paid. However, the government, according to them, unilaterally has reduced their salaries.

“Is that not a breach of contract, it is!”

Other members of the group who spoke to JoyNews correspondent, Kwesi Debrah lamented their working conditions.

According to them, there is no insurance policy for them so when they get in the line of duty, they are on their own.

“One of our colleagues was bitten by a snake and his entire hospital bill is more than the ¢400 salary which is not being paid,” one of the protestors said.

The group, numbering over 300 says the inability of the government to meet its obligation to them consistently, is due to the absence of a clear policy document on the model they are enrolled to.

In January 2019, Chief Executive of the Commission, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, made promises to the workers concerning their salaries.

The CEO however, rubbished claims by the personnel that they were owed some six months salaries.

He said the Commission owes its workers for three months and they were going to pay same.

The protesting youth, however, say they would lay down their tools on Friday if a favourable response is not received from the government.