Oye Lithur Must Intervene

The blatant disregard for the rights of Ghanaians who work in foreign-owned companies appears to be gaining firmer roots in the employment industry despite countless reported cases of abuse and calls for stringent measures to stem the tide. Many Ghanaians have suffered and continue to suffer various forms of abuse including terrible accidents in line of duty, verbal and physical assault and barefaced cheating at the hands of foreigners without the law jumping to the defence of the victims. Most Ghanaians who work at foreign-owned companies are casual workers who are banned from enjoying decent entitlements such Social Security and National Insurance Trust. Some work in very dangerous environments without gloves and protective gears. On the front page of today’s edition of the Daily Heritage is yet another plight of a Ghanaian worker, a boy who in search of money to sponsor his secondary education got his legs chopped off while on duty. Jerome Afaglo, a sixteen-year-old former pupil of Adaklu JHS got employed at Indian-owned Gravita Company, a car battery recycler in the Tema Industrial area, but in less than a week got his leg chopped off. According to him, he fell while operating on a machine onto another machine used for grinding car batteries: “Before I realized, the machine that grinds the car batteries had fallen on my leg, with blood oozing profusely.” “I was in pain and all I did was to pray that I should not die because I do not know who is going to take care of my mother,” he recounted sadly. Asked why he had taken up such a dangerous job at a tender age, Master Afaglo told the paper that “my father is dead, and I want to go to school. I know that I will pass the B.E.C.E., but what I am not certain of is where the money for the continuation of my education would come from, that is why I wanted to work to raise money to support my mum.” Further checks revealed that the boy was in bathroom slippers while working on such dangerous machines. The sad aspect is that the management of the company has abandoned him to his fate. Not even is the management of the company sticking to an agreed arrangement of providing a paltry sum of GH˘50.00 a week for his upkeep and transportation cost to the hospital. If nothing is done, we bet the company will get away with it. The family is appealing to the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur, to intervene to get officials of Gravita to compensate the little boy to enable them sustain his cherished dream of becoming a nurse. We wish to also add our voice and call on the Gender minister to urgently intervene and protect the interest of the boy and serve strong signals to all companies that are exploitation their workers to streamline their operations.