Timber Workers Face Layoffs

Thousand of workers in timber firms face layoffs following the erratic power supply in the country. The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Timber Millers Organization (GTMO), Dr Kwame Asamoah Andam, has indicated that due to power fluctuations, workers of timber millers are forced to operate in one shift instead of three shifts, which situation the GTMO fears will necessitate the layoff of tens of hundreds of workers. According to Dr. Andam, many timber firms in Kumasi are currently operating under capacity and have already declared many workers redundant at the expense of productivity. He said that on account of the erratic power supply, many of their machines had conked out, thereby increasing their cost of production. He said proposals had been sent to the government and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), suggesting the rechannelling of the excess power for use by timber companies during the off-peak periods so they could work effectively in the evening. Dr Andam noted that timber millers are major consumers of electricity and pay very high tariffs to the ECG for the power consumed during their operations. The GTMO head said timber firms would need a 24-hour uninterrupted power supply to get logs dried of the water in them, which process has been affected by low voltage and erratic power supply. Dr Asamoah has therefore called on the government, GRIDCO and ECG to give industries preference since regular, stable power supply is crucial for their industrial operations.