As the world celebrate May Day without the usual excitement because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Parliament has given thumbs up to frontline workers for availing themselves to save lives.
Employment and Labour Relations Minister, Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah, in a statement on the floor of Parliament, applauded the hardworking frontline workers who have made themselves available to lifesaving measures in the fight against the disease and its related issues.
As he extended appreciation further to a number of Ghanaian citizens and institutions for their innovation in providing home-grown solutions to fight the virus, he stressed the need to ensure that the significance of the day was not lost.
International Workers’ Day, also known as Labour Day or May Day, is to celebrate workers for their contribution to development. It is a public holiday in many countries with some, such as the United States and Canada, celebrating it on the first Monday of September.
In order not to lose sight on the significance of the Day, Organised Labour together with the national broadcaster; the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, created a platform on which President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the workers’ leadership addressed Ghanaian workers on television and via other media channels.
Addressing the House, Mr Awuah assured workers that the Government remained committed to their welfare despite the pandemic.
“Government’s commitment to the welfare of workers remains resolute and will always be one of our major priorities,” he said.
He noted that the pandemic would bring job losses but the Ministry and its social partners was in the process of assessing the full impact of the pandemic on the employment sector.
“However, even until such reports are made available, it is common knowledge that, globally, some sectors of the world economy, including Ghana, have already experienced job losses,” he said and mentioned the aviation, hospitality, and transport industries as some of the casualties.
Mr Awuah urged workers to bear with the Government and employers in the current trying times.
He presented a 10-point communique issued by the Tripartite Committee, made up of representatives of Government, Employers and Organised Labour detailing workplace safety guidelines.
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Majority Leader and Minster for Parliamentary Affairs, expressed regret that efforts to rebuild the economy had been derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When we are striving to measure up over the past three years, we have been brought down by this Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
He called for negotiations between Oganised Labour and the Government to ascertain “realistically what is ahead of us as a country.”
The Minority Leader and MP for Tamale South, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, urged the House to dedicate this year’s May Day to health workers, especially those at the frontline in fighting the pandemic.
He called for a unification of pensions to address issues affecting domestic workers and an escalating public sector wage bill.
“Whether COVID-19 or not, there are matters relating to pensions, which have not been significantly resolved,” the Minority Leader said, adding; “As a nation, we need to work towards a decent wage, not a living wage.”
Mr Ebenezer Gilbert Nii Narh Nartey, the MP for Ablekuma Central, praised teachers for their effort in educating and training children, as a number of parents, particularly of young children, are finding it challenging to teach their children at home because of the closure of schools from Covid-19.
Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the MP for North Tongu, saluted Ghanaian workers, particularly in healthcare, utility, security, and the media for their dedication to duty.
“They must all know that this august House accords them our highest respect and that they are most deserving of our glowing tribute on this auspicious occasion. They indeed occupy a special place in our hearts and the hearts of the people we represent in this Chamber.”