A labour economist, Dr. William Baah-Boateng has dismissed assertions that organized labour has inflated the number of workers likely to be laid off by close of 2015.
He argued that there are other avenues through which labour could force the government to resolve the three-year energy crisis.
“I think this is not the time to inflate figures. They have other options to compel government or put pressure on government…so I don’t think it’s an inflated figure,” he said.
Labour Unions have projected that by close of 2015, about 50,000 workers would have lost their jobs if the power crisis is not permanently fixed.
It also disclosed that in the first quarter of 2015, about 13,000 workers were laid off.
Some have challenged these figures being churned out by labour, insisting that they are inflated figures aimed at threatening the government to resolve the problem.
The President, John Mahama in his May Day address last week said although the power crisis is affecting companies, smart businesses are not laying off workers but are rather finding innovative ways to stay in business.
Dr. Baah-Boateng even so maintained labour is not using the 50,000 as a threat.
He explained that although the problem has persisted for three years, “labour has been very accommodative to government…labour has been able to stay calm for three years and given government more time to solve it.”
“We’ve been in this problem for over three years and no firm can stay in this for a long time,” he argued.
According to him, the about 600,000 public sector workers have been unionized and one of the benefits of these unions is to collate figures therefore, the 50,000 projected figure is possible
“I haven’t done any kind of research buy I think since the problem has been with us for the past three years; I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets to 50,000,” he added.
Dr. Baah-Boateng observed that if the informal sector is roped in, the numbers may be more 50,000.
“…They [Labour] are not even looking at those in the informal sector where it’s not individuals losing their jobs but the number of hours there are supposed to work has been slashed. That is a job cut in its sense but not a job cut as in human beings being laid so it’s realistic from where I sit because I’m sure enterprises have been able to endure this for three years.”
“We haven’t looked at some of us who are teaching in the universities because sometimes, you get so frustrated that you have to call off classes and you don’t even know when to reschedule the class,” he added.
The labour economist warned that if by the end of the year; enterprises are still not receiving constant power supply, “I think the country will suffer a lot. I think we cannot afford to go beyond December and if we go beyond December, I think it’s effects will be enormous.”
By: Efua Idan Osam/citifmonline.com/Ghana