Workers of Ghana Railway Company Limited (GRCL) have asked the government to place on its agenda and prioritise the revamping of the Western Rail Line.
While commending the government and the Ministry of Railways Development for ensuring that two passenger trains from Accra to Tema and Accra to Nsawam were back through the successful rehabilitation of the existing narrow gauge infrastructure by railway workers, and also the on-going rehabilitation works from Kojokrom to Tarkwa, they say “We would urge the government and the Ministry to, as a matter of urgency, to prioritise this earmarked project and place it on top of all, the revamping of the Western Rail Line.”
To the workers, though they were aware that a section of the Kojokrom to Manso line has been given on contract for the continuation of the construction of the standard gauge, they believe a complete contract for the construction of the entire western line would be more reassuring. “It is our hope and prayer that, as workers of this company, all efforts will be made to ensure a complete revamping of the Western Rail Line, to enable GRCL play its rightful role in the scheme of things in the economy of Ghana.”
The General Secretary of Ghana Railway Workers Union, Mr. Godwill Ntarmah, made the appeal at the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Union in Takoradi.
Mr. Ntarmah said, considering the various commodities on that stretch of line, bauxite, manganese, and cocoa, a number of job opportunities would be created when the line is completely revamped.
He added that the operations of the GRCL could not be sustained without the haulage of these commodities for now. Aside sustaining the operations of the GRCL, the Union Secretary said the revamping of the line would also ensure a longer lifespan of roads built by the government. Continuing, Mr. Ntarmah pointed out that it was extremely important that the GRCL diversify its operations as far as haulage was concerned, and, therefore, the call for a complete revamping of the entire Western Rail Line.
Touching on the salaries of the workers, Mr. Ntarmah pointed out that the low remunerations of workers of the company have been the bane in attracting the right human resource into the company.
He said the highest earned wage in the company was not up to GH¢3,000, and, therefore, appealed to the President to consider the plight of railway workers and help address this low level of salaries.
Considering the fact that the GRCL is a limited liability company, it is fully owned by the state, which makes it an obligation towards its welfare.
He reminded the government and the Ministry that the low level of salaries of workers of the company has not been attractive enough to have the right calibre of persons, in terms of its human resource capacity.
Touching on the passage of the Railway Act 779, he said the Act established the Ghana Railway Development Authority to promote the development of railways and railway services, hold, administer and improve the railway assets, and promote the development and management of sub-urban railway, it has delivered very little as against high expectations.
It was, therefore, refreshing to hear that efforts were being made to review the Act to make it more workable.