…Urges Payment of Arrears to Former Road Toll Collectors
The Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations (GFD) has condemned the mistreatment of some persons with Disabilities for picketing at the Ministry of Roads and Highways on Wednesday, October 15, 2023.
Sometime in 2021, the Ministry announced that it was abolishing the collection of road tolls across the country, an event already known to the generality of the Ghanaian public.
Subsequently, the minister was reported to have made a promise to find alternative employment for all persons with Disabilities who were affected by that policy of the government and to pay them whatever arrears were due them at the time of termination.
For over 2 years now, this has turned out to be a mere talk without any concrete plan to implement the promise.
The affected persons with disabilities have since been living without jobs and under very difficult life conditions culminating in a section of them resorting to taking action to picket at the ministry and to have their issues addressed.
This, the GFD believes, is their democratic right as citizens. Therefore they deserve to be treated with respect and dignity by the leaders who have a state responsibility to care for the vulnerable in society, including persons with Disabilities who, unfortunately, are already at the receiving end of multiple discrimination when it comes to implementing.
The GFD therefore wishes to use this opportunity to urge the Ministry of Roads and Highways to urgently address the critical issue of the unpaid arrears owed to all former road toll collectors with Disabilities, who were laid off following the ban in November 2021. The abrupt termination of their employment has left many of them struggling to make ends meet, further exacerbating their existing socioeconomic vulnerabilities.
The GFD further wishes to emphasize the importance of upholding the principles of inclusive employment, as enshrined in Ghanaian laws and international instruments which Ghana has signed onto such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions.
The actions taken against the toll collectors with Disabilities are most unfortunate, reprehensible, and an embarrassment to the country which in 2022 co-hosted the Global Disability Summit with the government of Norway. In light of the aforementioned concerns, the GFD respectfully requests the ministry to take the following actions:
1. Prompt payment of the arrears owed to former toll collectors, in accordance with their terms of employment.
2. Urgently reassign all the affected persons with disabilities to new employment avenues as promised by the minister.
These measures are not only essential for alleviating the financial hardships faced by the affected individuals but also align with the principles of Article 27 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) which Ghana was among the first countries to sign when it was passed in 2006.
The GFD urges the government via the Ministry of Roads and Highways to act expeditiously to address these concerns in a fair and just manner. We trust that the Ministry will recognize the urgency of this matter and take the necessary steps to ensure the well-being of those who have been unjustly treated.
Joseph Atsu Homadzi
National President of GFD