The National Union of Workers with Disability has successfully secured transport and guide allowances for its members working in the public sector after months of intense advocacy and pressure mounted on government.

The Union has been able to advocate two allowances for workers with disability. This includes transport and guide allowances which are paid monthly to support the commuting of workers with disability.

“The Union also advocated guide allowances for retired workers with disability as they need most in their age,” Yaw Ofori-Debrah, Founder of the Union told The Ghana News Agency.

“The Union is to engage the Minister of Finance and the Ghana Revenue Authority to simplify the processes or procedures of accessing the benefits of the tax relief,” he added.

The Union was established as a coordinating body between existing workers union and persons with disabilities engaged in public sector employment.

“This is to serve as a coordinating platform where issues relating to workers with disability will be discussed and advocated,” Ofori-Debrah said after the election and inauguration of Union Executive Officers chaired by Mr Abraham Doddoo.

Mr Joseph N.K. Gadikor, Ag Chairman of Fair Wages and Salaries Commission, expressed satisfaction that pieces of advice by persons with disability contributed immensely in shaping the implementation of the Single Spine Pay Policy in tandem with Article 24(1) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana which states:

“Every person has the right to work under satisfactory, safe and healthy condition, and shall receive equal pay for work without distinctions of any kind,’’ he said.

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He said Government was committed to ensuring that economic right was not taken away from workers with disabilities.
“From my observations, throughout my 36 years as a worker, workers with disabilities are very hardworking, thus, empowering them with the requisite tools will enable them increase their productivity for national development,” he said.

He commended the Union for bringing together workers with disabilities under one umbrella, saying “in unity lies strength’’ and that it was through that they could promote and protect economic and social interests of members.

In a speech read on his behalf, Dr Yaw Baah, Secretary General of the Trade Union Congress, Ghana, noted that it was about time “we refocus on what is really the engine of progress and development for persons with disability – empowerment!”
He recalled the euphoria that marked the enactment of the Persons with Disability Act, 2006 (Act 715) in 2006.

This was a major first step in recognizing the needs of the persons with disability in the society, he said, acknowledging their rights and the duty bearers who are to take specific steps to address their challenges.

He said sadly, as typical of Ghana, after the fanfare of enacting the law, “we all went to sleep.”
He expressed regret that there has not been any significant improvement in the collective realization of the aspirations of persons with disability.

“To empower workers with disability we must educate the society on the Persons with Disability Law,” he said.
The Law covers Right to family life, Right to Dignified Treatment, Right to Housing, Right to Free Education among others.
Dr Baah said: “for lack of knowledge, the people perish, if you do not know your rights, you cannot assert those rights.”
At the workplace, he noted, “the challenges facing workers with disability are many including marginalization”.
“This impacts on Labour productivity, innovation and reward for disabled workers.”

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He said “brothers and sisters, it is not enough to know who you are and what our great potential is, to realize your potential we must get organized”.

“To properly realize our aspirations as persons with disability, we have to get properly organized.”
“We have to add to the search of bread and butter issues, the political struggle that leads to the kind of nationwide distribution of resources that will advance the interest of Labour and our society.”

“The displacement of persons with disability in Ghana requires a re-energized political will not partisan organization to promote and protect their rights.”

“We cannot continue to operate in our corners parochially looking at our own positions and resources thinking that we can make it on our own.”

“The unity and solidarity of working people is what will get us organised into a united card ready to promote, advance and protect the interests of workers.”

Source: GNA/NewsGhana.com.gh

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