By: Freeman Koryekpor Awlesu/www.africanakua.com, Ghana
Information reaching this online news portal indicates that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Disease Burial Team together with the Environmental Health Workers who are currently working at the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development in Accra are planning to embark on a sit-down strike.
The intended move, the portal understands, is to allow the workers further press home their demand for the central government to pay them their additional allowance of 50 per cent of their basic salaries after the agreed grace-period expired.
Consequently, the COVID-19 Disease Burial Team and the Environmental Health Workers numbering about forty (40) in Accra further warns that if their monies were not released by the end of this month, then they will take any possible means to have the government pay their cash due them.
Speaking in an interview with www.africanakua.com on condition of anonymity, the workers stated that since March 2020 when they began working they have buried over 100 people in Accra.
They lamented that the government has since that period not paid them their share of the incentive package promised to frontline health workers in the fight against the coronavirus in the country.
In the wake of the outbreak of the coronavirus in the country, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo promised that all health workers will pay no income tax in addition to receiving additional allowance of 50 per cent of their basic salaries.
But ever since that announcement was made, the COVID-19 Burial workers were yet to be paid their share of the package.
“We overheard in the news recently by the government through the Minister of Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, touting that the COVID-19 Burial Team was paid their money. It is not true!”
“We want to state clearly that the tax exemption and 50 per cent incentive have not been paid till date nationwide, although the government claims it had paid.”
“Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah is lying! We have not been paid our salaries; we are Ghanaians; we know the labour laws of this country. The laws of labour in this country give room for legal action to be taken.
Definitely we will go through the process and make sure that we use legal means to address our issues. But for now we are considering laying down our tools if our salaries were not released this coming Friday,” the aggrieved workers warned.
They added “All efforts to meet state authorities to look at how they were going to capture our peculiarities has failed. Enough is enough; we can’t be slaves in our own country. If by Friday we don’t get our salaries, rest assured that we will begin a sit-down strike.
What is very irritating, according to the workers, was that the Director of Public Health of Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Madam Florence Kuukyi, has been asked by a high authority to stop talking to the media on the issue or she risks losing her job.
According to their information, the COVID-19 Burial Team was making the government unpopular, hence Mrs. Kuukyi should stop speaking on the matter.