Minister of Employment and Labour Relations Minister, Harruna Iddrisu has indicated that labour and government are making headway in the negotiation process over the newly introduced taxes and the increased utility tariffs.
According to the minister both parties so far have softened their entrenched positions in the negotiation.
“The committee has also noted an improvement in the position of organsied labour by tabling some adjustment’s to their previous position at the level of the stakeholder,” Iddrisu told the media Tuesday at the end of the crunch talks.
Organised Labour is demanding a reduction in taxes and tariffs but government until Tuesday had been insistent on maintaining the increments to ensure improved power supply and to service public debts.
The labour minister also revealed that a new proposal will be presented to organize labour for discussions on Wednesday when both parties meet again. “We are also revising our position and will communicate same to organised labour…; which will be an improvement of our position particularly in respect of lifeline consumers and vulnerable consumers of ECG,” he said.
“Government will not take any decision that will further strain or hurt the economy. In respect of lifeline consumers, we make a further commitment as government that some reliefs will be provided,” he added.
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Mr. Iddrisu also noted that the government going to make provision to cushion local industries in this difficult moment. “Government accepts the principle to cushion industry in line with the transformation agenda of President Mahama and therefore the AGI [Association of Ghana Industries] is to submit a comprehensive proposal to the minister of finance and to the president making a prioritization of two areas for immediate support as part of the cushioning.”
The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) in December 2015, increased electricity and water tariffs by 59.2% and 67.2% respectively. This was followed with an 18% to 27% increase in petroleum products which incensed the workers’s unions who say workers are being overburdened whiles salaries remain unchanged.