The government is expected to taste its first major demonstration from a workers’ union as members of the Textile, Garment and Leather Workers’ Union (TEGLEU) hints of hitting the streets on Thursday, March 9 to draw attention to what it is describing as the aggravated job insecurity in the textile industry.
The massive job losses, the union explained was as a result of the influx of counterfeit, pirated and smuggled African Prints into the local markets, which unfortunately has become the preserve of many Ghanaians.
Members of the union, which is part of the national organised labour group, the Trades Union Congress (TUC), said the planned peaceful procession would end with the presentation of a petition to the Minister of Trade and Industry (MoTI), Mr Allan Kyeremanten at the ministry by a four-member team.
The procession, according to the General Secretary of the Union, Mr Abraham Koomso, had become necessary as a result of the failure of the Ministry to take action on their plight, despite several attempts requesting for audience with the minister.
“The attention of MoTI has been drawn to this development but no action has been taken as the distressed manufacturing companies grind to a halt; resulting in the loss of over 20,000 workers,” he said in an interview on March 1, Accra.
Subsequently, two letters requesting for a meeting with the minister were not responded to and several physical attempts to meet with the minister, he explained, had also proved futile. The letters he said were dated January 30, 2017 and February 13, 2017.
“In view of this dire situation, we have resolved to embark on this procession on March 9, 2017 to amplify our grievances for MoTI to act swiftly by reconstituting the Task Force to check the illegal activities of some importers and traders to save our jobs,” he said.
Task force suspended
The import of cheap and pirated textiles onto the market, prompted the formation of an anti-textile piracy task force, established in 2010 by the ministry and has since operated to bring sanity into the business of trading in the products.
The task force, comprising representatives of the security agencies, the Ghana Standards Authority, the local manufacturers and the trade unions were able to seize some of these pirated textiles but had to deal with persistent resistance from traders, who sometimes endangered the lives of the group.
As at now the operations of the task force have stalled for no apparent reason and the union he said, has not been able to explain the circumstances.
The sector trade union has over a decade consistently petitioned the government to deal with the illicit trading business which had virtually destroyed the local manufacturing companies and caused job losses.
Meanwhile the smugglers have intensified their activities with impunity to the detriment of the local textile manufacturing companies.
Source: Daily Graphic
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