“If we are going to make the changes we all want, then we have to start with a change in attitude to work. Government is ready to do its part and I am counting on you Secretary General to lead the campaign for a change in attitude to work and increase in productivity.”
These were the words of the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, when he delivered a speech on Monday, 1st May, 2017, to commemorate the May Day celebrations, held at the Independence Square, in Accra,
Reacting to the concerns expressed by the Secretary General of the Trades’ Union Congress, Dr. Yaw Baah, about how badly off present day workers are in comparison with Ghanaian workers in the past, President Akufo-Addo noted that the attitudes of workers must change if the nation is to progress.
“I have said it at another forum, but I think it bears repeating: we arrive at work late and then spend the first hour in prayer; we are clock watchers and leave in the middle of critical work, because it is the official closing time. Everything comes to a stop when it rains and we seem to expect the rest of the world also to stop,” the President said.
He continued, “We have no respect for the hours set aside for work… we pray, we eat, we visit during working hours. We spend hours chatting on the telephone when customers are waiting to be served, thereby increasing our labour costs. We take a week off for every funeral. And then we wonder why we are not competitive.”
President Akufo-Addo was particularly worried about the pernicious attitude to property that we find at work.
“There is the petty stealing of paper, envelopes, tea, milk and other equipment. There is the reckless use of office vehicles. Employees show no inclination to protecting the things that are in the offices and factories and extreme reluctance to stand up for what we know to be right in our workplaces in general,” he added.
Touching on the service provided in the country’s hospitality industry, the President indicated that the service “does not match that of our competitors and many of us have sadly come around to accept poor service as the norm.”
The President advocated for a return to the days of old where, “Ghanaian artisans, for example, used to have an enviable reputation around the region.
Our carpenters, masons, mechanics, plumbers, tailors were much sought after. They took pride in their work and improved upon their own set standards every time they took on a new job.”
President Akufo-Addo wondered how very old classroom blocks could withstand storms and heavy rainfall, whilst the roofs of nearby, newly built ones are ripped off regularly.
“How come that we build roads that are expected to last for at least five years and they do not make it through one rainy season before they fail and pot holes appear? The workers on the roads, the contractors and the consultants all conspire to deliver the shoddy work that prevents us from getting to where we ought to be,” he lamented.