The General Secretary of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU), Solomon Kotei, has said President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was right in charging public sector workers to change their attitude towards work if Ghana is to progress.
Delivering his maiden May Day speech on Monday, 1 May in Accra, Nana Akufo-Addo bemoaned public workers’ approach to work and implored them to change their attitude.
“I have said it at another forum, but I think it bears repeating: we arrive at work late and then spend the first hour in prayer; we are clock watchers and leave in the middle of critical work, because it is the official closing time. Everything comes to a stop when it rains and we seem to expect the rest of the world also to stop,” the President said.
He continued, “We have no respect for the hours set aside for work… we pray, we eat, we visit during working hours. We spend hours chatting on the telephone when customers are waiting to be served, thereby increasing our labour costs. We take a week off for every funeral. And then we wonder why we are not competitive.”
Reacting to Mr Akufo-Addo’s comments on the Executive Breakfast Show (EBS) on Class91.3FM on Tuesday, 2 May, Mr Kotei said the President was “spot on.”
He urged managers to enforce the conditions of service for every employee to curb such negative attitudes towards work while admitting that sometimes the office environment does not inspire staff to give of their best.
“He [Nana Akufo-Addo] was absolutely right. Every statement he made on the conduct of the Ghanaian worker in the public sector will get him justified. This is a bad tradition that has existed over the years. Even when they go for 6th March, it is only students that get a holiday, but you will see some workers also not going to work. We think it’s about time that strict discipline should be enforced, because if you check all agreements and conditions of service, it is something that the agreement and conditions abhor that you come to work late, or you don’t come to work without legitimate excuse. And these things have been with our system for a long time but strangely you won’t find this in the private sector. In the private sector, you cannot do that in a week and think you can survive,” he stated.
“We have to also look at the conditions under which they work. Some of the offices, you go there and the kinds of chairs and tables they sit on, the infrastructure and the building itself, the environment, you’ll find all kinds of traders hawking around…so they don’t help the place to become operational.”
Mr Kotei also asked that government pay public workers well and urged supervisors to “begin to allow the systems to work because the conditions of service are there, the agreements are there, so we should allow them to work and make sure that people are brought to conduct themselves according to conditions that are set up”.