The executives of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have reportedly called on a number of Makola women to use their exceptional haggling skills to assist the union in negotiations to secure an upward adjustment to the national daily minimum wage.
The call followed an admission by the union’s leadership that only Makola women possess the requisite skillset needed to persuade government and employers to increase the national daily minimum wage which is currently set at a princely sum of GHc 5.24. With years of bargaining experience under their waist cloth, these market women will not be browbeaten by government or employers. They are expected to be a big presence around the negotiating table and also bring to bear the same blend of gentle persuasion and coercion they employ in the market place.
The head of the Makola women’s negotiating team, Naa Borketey Bortey, revealed they will will be using the tried and tested Ghanaian market women haggling strategy. “It’s a simple but effective strategy. Whether in the market or around the negotiating table, the same principle applies. First we will ask for GHc 50, knowing that the other side will definitely ask for a reduction in the said figure. After negotiating back and forth we imagine a middle ground will be reached. And just when we are about to sign the agreement, we will ask for bonuses to be thrown into the deal or we simply pull out. If all this fails, although unlikely, we will threaten government and employers with an indefinite strike action.”
She added that they “will not hesitate to issue slaps with their charlie wote if certain government officials continue to argue that the union’s demands are unreasonable despite the fact that utility bills and fuel prices have gone up several times this year. “These people must think the ordinary Ghanaian worker is some sort of miracle worker. Anyone who suggests workers can survive on GHc 5.24 a day will be saying hello to my chale wote.”
The Makola women have assured workers they will deliver nothing less than a 100% increment in the wage rate.