Workers of Youth in Afforestation Program under the Youth Employment Authority (YEA) in the Eastern Region, have threatened to stage a series of demonstrations force government to pay their allowances.
The workers, who held a press conference to register their displeasure with the government over its failure to pay their allowances are also demanding improved working conditions.
Regina Aku Dzameshie, leader of the group said that the non-payment of their allowances is making life difficult for them.
“Some of our colleagues are even sick, and they can’t afford proper healthcare. Their various health insurance packages have expired, and they do not have any money to renew them.”
The group, therefore wants the government to fulfil its promises made to them, or it will go all out to hold a peaceful demonstration and besiege the offices of the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) and the Forestry Commission.
“We are giving government up to November 2. We want to receive all outstanding arrears and terms of engagement. If all our demands are not met, then we the eastern region branch of the youth in afforestation will go on a peaceful demonstration.”
She also said adequate safety equipment and other logistics to enable them to do their work easily have also not been provided by the government.
“The workers in other districts are doing the same work we are doing here, but we do not have the working tools. We work with our strength in the full glare of reptiles. There are simple farm implements we are not even getting.”
The aggrieved beneficiaries are also demanding from the government, a definite term of employment because they believe the government’s actions smack of a possible termination of their program.
“The engagement letter does not have a date of expiration. We, therefore, want to find out from the appropriate authorities if we are under this program permanently or on a contract basis. We have heard in the grapevine that this is a two-year contract so, we want to know how true this is.”
We’ve employed 20,000 youth in afforestation programme – Nana Addo
Government employed some 20,000 young men and women across the country to help manage the country’s forests, combat desertification and tackle land degradation.
President Akufo-Addo stated that the programme is in line with the NPP’s 2016 manifesto commitment of reforestation, forest rehabilitation, and forest protection activities.
“That is why today, we are deploying an army of twenty thousand young men and women who are going to help restore our degraded forests. The Programme, which has an initial two-year life span, will be extended based on satisfactory results,” he said.