In a recent meeting with representatives from the World Bank and CW Engineering Ghana, Concerned Citizens for Yendi – CCY successfully raised concerns regarding labour abuses and substandard work on the Yendi-Tamale road project. Following the engagement, significant changes have been initiated to address the issues and improve the construction process.
World Bank Visit: Championing the Rights of Workers
CCY was determined to stand up for the rights of the workers involved in the Yendi-Tamale road project. Recognizing the World Bank’s visit to the site, CCY strategically seized the opportunity to advocate on behalf of the construction workers and the people of Yendi.
During the meeting on Friday, May 19, 2023, CCY leadership presented a comprehensive case to CW Engineering Ghana and the World Bank representatives. The submission focused on the concerns raised by the workers, ensuring their welfare and the quality of work were given the utmost attention.
Improving Worker Conditions and Wages
CCY strongly emphasized the need for fair wages and dignified treatment of the construction workers. The contractor was urged to reevaluate the remuneration structure to provide better pay, aligned with the skills and efforts of the workers. CCY presented a compelling example of local labourers receiving Ghc40.00 per day with feeding, in stark contrast to the meager Ghs 29.00 per day without feeding provided to the workers at CW Engineering Ghana. The demand for equitable compensation echoed throughout the meeting, leaving no room for compromise.
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Ensuring Safety and Welfare
Safety emerged as a critical concern during the discussion. CCY highlighted the necessity of providing adequate safety gear and personal protective equipment for the workers. It was disheartening to observe workers being exposed to hazardous conditions without proper safeguards. CCY firmly advocated for a work environment that prioritizes the well-being and security of all workers.
Addressing Construction Challenges
Beyond worker welfare, CCY raised significant issues related to the overall quality of the road project. Dust control measures were deemed insufficient, leading to reduced visibility and unfortunate accidents. CCY demanded immediate action to improve watering practices and ensure the safety of motorists and workers alike.
Additionally, the contractor was pressed to explain why culverts were extended rather than replaced with new, durable structures. The width of the road failed to meet expectations despite the lengthened culverts. CCY also expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of the bitumen/asphalt used, as new layers were expected, yet new markings commenced instead. The subcontracting of the Puriya area without proper worker welfare measures was condemned, underscoring CCY’s unwavering commitment to fair treatment.
World Bank’s Support and Contractor’s Response
The World Bank representatives appreciated CCY’s active engagement in monitoring the construction project and commended their efforts in advocating for workers’ rights. As a result of the meeting, the World Bank issued directives to the contractor. These included the immediate implementation of a revised salary structure, ensuring fair compensation for workers from May 2023 onwards. The World Bank also mandated that the contractor address all concerns raised by CCY, both regarding worker welfare and the quality of the road. Failure to address these issues adequately may result in the contractor’s replacement.
In response to the discussions, the contractor promptly reconvened an emergency meeting with their staff, acknowledging the urgency of resolving the raised concerns. Construction workers were recalled, and work resumed with renewed assurances that their welfare and grievances would be thoroughly addressed.
CCY’s Impact on Yendi-Tamale Road Project
The Concerned Citizens of Yendi’s persistent advocacy efforts have yielded tangible results, initiating positive changes in the Yendi-Tamale road construction. CCY remains committed to monitoring the project closely and ensuring that the rights of workers are upheld, quality standards are met, and the safety of all stakeholders is guaranteed.
CCY was represented at the meeting by Mion Sonaa (Team Leader), Ibrahim Najmu-deen, Hon. Achiri, Mr. Jalal-deen, and Mr. Baako.