The Local Government Service Workers Union (LGSWU) has urged government to include its hard working Environmental Health Officers in the beneficiary list of COVID-19 package for frontline workers.
The Union said the Environmental Health Officers, especially, the Cemetery staff, were playing a critical frontline role by ensuring that the COVID-19 corpses were buried under the utmost health and safety standards, to prevent any outbreak from the burial grounds.
“What is even more worrying now is the fact that, the country is currently seeing an upsurge in COVID-19 cases and associated deaths and these officers are in the frontline to ensure that the dead bodies are properly disposed of at the expense of their own lives and yet, they are not being recognized”.
This was contained in a statement signed by Mr Godfred Nyarko Okyere, General Secretary of LGSWU, and copied to the Ghana News Agency, at its 11th Quadrennial Delegates Conference in Kumasi.
The conference was on the theme: The Impact of COVID-19 on Labour, the Role of the LGSWU”.
Other highlights of the conference were the election of new national officers for the Union for a four year term, issue of delay in promotions of members which was a major demoralizing factor amongst members within the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, and payment of honorarium to selected few in the Service instead of all classes.
The leadership of the newly elected national officers of the Union as part of efforts to promote effective stakeholder engagement met with Dr Ato Arthur, the Head of Service at the Office of the Head of the Local Government Service in Accra, to formerly introduce themselves to the management of the Service.
The Union appealed to Dr Arthur to use his good office to get the government to urgently address the issue of COVID-19 package for the frontline Environmental Health Officers.
Mr Moses Awenkanab Awarikaro, the newly elected National Chairman of the Union, said, “As union leaders, we will not shirk our responsibility in giving priority to the welfare, health and safety needs of our members and Ghanaian workers in general.
As Local Government Service workers, some of our colleagues are in the front role in the fight against COVID-19, especially, the cemetery workers of the Environmental Health and Sanitation Inspectorate, of the Assemblies, who are directly involved in the handling and burial of COVID-19 dead bodies”.
He said the Union would continue to work in collaboration with the management of the Local Government Service, to engage the relevant authorities to ensure that Environmental Health and Sanitation staff, who were risking their lives daily in handling dead bodies of COVID-19 victims, duly benefited from the Government’s frontline Covid-19 package.
Dr Nana Ato Arthur, on his part, appreciated the concerns of the LGSWU, and said measures were being taken to ensure fairness in the provision of benefits to all staff in the various Assemblies.
Regarding the issue of promotions, he said the promotion regime was being reviewed to address bottlenecks, saying that very soon, all those challenges would be a thing of the past.
Addressing the issue raised about the Environmental Health Officers, he gave assurance to the leadership that the issue would be forwarded to the appropriate quarter for redress.
Dr Arthur appealed to the national executives of the Union to advise their members and staff of the Service to eschew absenteeism, lateness to work, avoid any audit infractions, involvement in partisan politics and the leakage of official information, since those acts are unethical and against the code of conduct and conditions of service of public servants.
Other elected national executives are Mr Bismark Von Golloh, First National Vice Chairman, Madam Priscilla Obeng-Gyabaa, Second National Vice Chairperson, and Mr Godfred Nyarko Okyere, General Secretary.
The rest are Mr Christopher Abokah, Deputy General Secretary, Mr Cosmos Owusu, First National Trustee and Mr Mumuni Moro W. Second National Trustee.