Agitated former workers of the Ghana Toll Workers Group have asked the Government to pay their salary arrears so they can feed their families.
The workers said they had been struggling to feed their families for the past five months after the job loss and appealed to the Government to pay them.
The angry workers, numbering over hundred, besieged the Ministry of Roads and Highways and demanded for the payment of their salary arrears since January.
They also demanded letters from the Roads and Highways Minister, Kwasi Amoako Atta, on their reassignment after the Minister had called for an end to collection of the tolls, effective November 18.
Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, Finance Minister, in presenting the 2022 budget statement on November 17, 2021, said the Government had observed that toll booths were doing more harm than good, causing heavy traffic and negatively impacting productivity.
“To address these challenges, the Government has abolished all tolls on public roads and bridges. This takes effect immediately after the budget is approved,” the Finance Minister said.
The budget statement also assured the workers that the Government would continue to pay the workers’ salaries until alternative employment opportunities were found for them.
Though the Government had paid for the November and December 2021 salaries, those for 2022 are in arrears.
Mr Emmanuel Ampadu, a member and a person living with disability, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency said,
“we are hungry, we cannot feed our families and we are being ejected from our homes simply because we cannot pay rent.”
He said his household struggled to have a square meal a day.
Mr Eric Kojo Sam, a member and a father of three, said: “I have been thrown out of the room that I rented because I don’t have the money to pay. My children are at home because I can’t get money for them to go to school.”
Madam Jennifer Atik, also a member of the Group, told the Agency her inability to support her family was affecting her marriage and children and called on the Government to pay the arrears so she could start some trade and cater for her family.
Mr Edward Duncan, Secretary of the Ghana Toll Workers Group, said after meeting with the Minister, Kwasi Amoako Atta, nothing concrete was attained regarding their demands.
In a termination letter signed on May 9, 2022 by one Samuel Eshun, Operations Manager, Tolls and Routes Management Limited (TRML), the contractor that oversaw collection of the tolls, had said, “since efforts to get your salaries paid or secure alternative job opportunities have not yielded any positive results today, we have no other choice than to put you on notice for a month, effective today.”
Mr Isaac Adjei Kwakye, Deputy Public Relations Officer, Ministry of Roads and Highways, said, Government, though in discussions to reassign the affected workers, and pay their outstanding salaries, legally, had no contract with the workers.
“But, be it as it may, it is not the Ministry that will pay them. It is the Company, and nobody was given a termination letter,” he said.