Ace journalist Manasseh Azure Awuni of Multimedia, has written an open letter to the president of Ghana, H.E Nana Akuffo Addo alleging Zoomlion, a company he (Manasseh) has been investigating for some time now has violated time and time gain the National daily minimum wage agreed by the tripartite committee among other contract illegalities.
Find the contents of the letter below
“Dear President Akufo-Addo, you recently increased the minimum wage to 10.65 cedis a day. This means it will be illegal for anybody to pay their workers less than about 300 cedis a month. But you pay the sanitation workers across the country 100 cedis a month. Before the recent minimum wage increment, this 100 cedis monthly wage was illegal because it fell below the existing legal minimum wage at the time.
The disturbing part of this arrangement is that you give Zoomlion 500 cedis a month and the company pays the workers 100 cedis. The contract under which this arrangement came into being expired in February 2013 and a committee set up by the government found fraudulent charges in this contract. The politicians knew that they could not review this contract without varying the amount that goes to the poor workers. For this reason, they kept on paying Zoomlion without a contract.
Each year, the government pays Zoomlion 270 million cedis in respect of these sanitation workers. Out of this amount, 54 million cedis (20%) goes to the 45,000 workers while Zoomlion takes 216 million cedis (80%) as the fee for managing the workers. The government cannot confirm that there are actually 45,000 workers. It just pays because Zoomlion says there are 45,000 workers.
President Akufo-Addo, this is what you campaigned against when you cited the GYEEDA scandal while in opposition. This is why you said President Mahama was presiding over corruption and you begged us to vote for you so you could do things differently. When you became president, you closed your eyes to it. You met with the owner of Zoomlion and assured him of your support. Your citizens are still being exploited. 100 cedis a month or 22 dollars a month for this hazardous work is exploitation. It is slavery.
You must not sit and allow this wickedness to continue, Sir. Some of these street sweepers are as old as your wife, your children and your siblings. Just imagine any of these people you love doing this difficult job for a whole month and going home with 100 cedis. It is from this 100 cedis that they get their transportation to and from work. That is where they get their health insurance. They don’t have any insurance or pension benefits. No SSNIT! And it is from this same 100 cedis that some of them buy brooms and other tools to sweep because the service provider sometimes fails to supply them. In my investigation I discovered that, in Damongo in the Northern Region, the situation of lack of tools became so serious that World Vision (an NGO), had to intervene and supplied the workers with gloves and other tools to work while Zoomlion received management fees.
Mr. President, I should have stopped talking about this long time ago because of the attacks I get when I talk about this issue. Some people think it is more important to protect someone’s business interest than to fight for the exploited citizens and the misuse of the tax payers money. I stand the risk of being accused of being emotional. But I won’t stop talking about this.
I cannot live in peace when this wickedness and exploitation continues. I have always believed that no human being with conscience should allow this to continue in our republic. I know you are a human being with conscience. You spent almost all your adult life fighting injustice. There cannot be greater injustice in our time than this. I am appealing to your conscience to help these poor workers across the country. Please, end this wickedness.
This is one of your citizens,
Manasseh Azure Awuni.”