COVID-19: TUC calls for social dialogue over threat on businesses, jobs

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) wants various stakeholders to hold a round table discussion and take more decisive actions to minimize the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses and other corporate institutions.

This among other things, the TUC believes is aimed at identifying a friendly environment for businesses in the country to thrive in a bid to also control massive job losses amidst the outbreak.

Already, the Union has lamented the developments that necessitated a lockdown of some parts of the country with many more people likely to lose their jobs should restrictions on movement remain.

Dr. Kwabena Nyarko Otoo, Director of Research and Policy at the TUC who on Citi TV’s The Point of View, shed more light on the group’s concerns over the current turn of events asked government, employers and employees to as a matter of urgency come together and find ways of tackling the difficulties saddling the business space.

“The stimulus as we have now is a good start. But if you look at all the sectors that have been affected now and workers that are looking up to the government, you clearly see that we need to do more as a country in order to be able to contain the situation that we have at hand. This is only the first generation of the effect that we are seeing. Assuming that all the companies that have asked their workers to work from home become successful in ensuring that they use ICT to do the work, some of those workers will not come back to the workplace. It is a very difficult situation for employers and also for workers.”

“These are medium to long term effects we need to consider. The scale of the problem is such that, you need to try as much as possible to match the intervention with the expected loss. So we need to dialogue more -employers, workers, and the government need to use the social dialogue mechanism to actually come to the size and magnitude of the problem we are facing and define the kind of interventions required to address those things.” he noted.

As the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to widen globally and in Ghana, some companies in the country have shut down their operations due to low patronage.

Some have already laid-off casual workers and are preparing to cut down on permanent staff.

According to them, it was no longer prudent to continue operations when the numbers have dropped drastically; while they still pay salaries, bills and taxes.

Also, the announcement of the partial restriction saw many businesses in the formal sector close down some of their branches and reducing their operation hours.

The financial implications led to some staff losing their jobs with others forced to take salary cuts.

With the announcement of the ease of the restrictions, some formal businesses have started opening closed branches.

The Greater Accra Metropolitan Area, Tema, Kasoa and the Kumasi Metropolitan Area have just come out of a three-week partial lockdown that was imposed in March as part of measures to slow and contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

President Nana Akufo-Addo in a televised broadcast on Sunday, April 19, 2020, lifted the partial lockdown on some parts of the country which was necessitated by the spread of the novel coronavirus.

According to the President, the ease of restrictions was in view of the country’s ability to undertake aggressive contact tracing of infected persons among others.

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