Over three hundred textiles and garment workers, will hit the streets of Accra again over the decision of the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI) to suspend the activities of the Anti-Pirated Textiles Taskforce, over an alleged intimidation of some Makola textiles dealers by the members of the taskforce.
Mr Abraham Koomson, the General Secretary of Textiles, Garment and Leather Employees’ Union (TEGLU) of the Ghana Federation of Labour (GFL) gave hints of the pending massive demonstration to demand the restoration of the activities of the taskforce in an interaction with The Herald in Accra.
According to him, is been over a month now, when members of the various textiles companies staged the last demonstration, where the sector Minister, Haruna Iddrissu, recieved the petition and promised to reconstitute the membership of the taskforce to give a human face to its operations.
“Since the Minister made the promise at the Hearts Park near the Arts Centre in Accra, no steps has been taken to have the membership of the taskforce reconstituted to curb the activities of pirated textiles in the system.
We are aware that the utility companies, will be executing the Automatic Tariff Adjustment formula this year and by allowing these unscrupulous traders to pirate the designs of local textiles manufacturers, it means that the production cost of the textiles companies will go up, thereby pushing them out of business only for the workers to bear the blunt by being redeployed he said
He said, when the textiles companies start paying the new tariffs and they cannot break even because of the their designs are being pirated and sold cheap on the open markets, the workers are going to suffer and as a union “we cannot sit down for our members to go through such hardships which will arise out some institutions not doing their work well”.
At the last demonstration the Minister promised to rectify the situation but a month down the line nothing has been done in terms of intensifying the work of the Anti-Pirated Textiles Taskforce to curb this creeping canker in the industry.
The leadership of the union last week further expressed their disappointment over President Mahama’s new strategy of dealing with the booming pirated textile business in the country, which is fast collapsing the local industry.
President John Dramani Mahama at his maiden meet-the- press interaction in Accra on Tuesday noted in an answer to a question that the Anti Pirated Textile Task Force be directed to turn its attention on the entry points rather than the markets, where the garments are sold.
According the union, the President had justified the reasons for suspending the activities of the task force during the festive season, because the women who were dealing in the alleged pirated textiles had families to feed and that seizing their goods would compound their hardship.
But, Mr. Koomson negated this assertion saying that the President’s antidote to the problem as expressed during his interaction with the press was indicative of the fact that he himself was oblivious of the extent of the issue on the ground, and is possibly being misled by his Ministers and their deputies.
Meanwhile, the union is expected to hold a press conference today and further emphasize the details of the petition they earlier presented to the Minister on December 17, 2013 which is gathering dust on the shelves of the Minister’s desk.
The petition headlined “Protest against the Suspension of Operations of the Anti-Textile Piracy Task force” signed by John Amoah and Wisdom Appiah.