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Reflections on 2019 Workers’ Day Celebration- Who Are the Real Workers?

It’s been a only a few days since Ghana joined the world to mark Workers’ Day on May 1st, with thousands of Ghanaian workers convening at the Black Star Square in commemoration of the day.

Well, for those of us who could not make it to the Black Star Square, or to put it bluntly did not see the need to stand in the scorching sun for hours, we had other plans. As typical of Ghanaians, our love for holidays cannot be measured. In fact, we make plans for the holiday two months prior. I know that for some people, Workers’ Day was an opportunity to spend time with the family and most likely end the day with a bowl of fufu. Others may have spent the day sleeping, travelling or visiting. And not to forget the holiday ritual of most Ghanaians; they went to the beach to release stress and have fun.

As much as I had plans for the day too, I spent a chunk of the it reflecting on the essence of the holiday. May Day, Workers’ Day or Labour Day is observed globally to recognize the efforts of workers in making our countries and by extension the world a better place.

However, what is there really to celebrate? When we Ghanaians celebrate Workers’ Day, who are we really celebrating?

Are we celebrating the following? The workers in public institutions who go to work at 10.00 am and close at 2.00pm? The workers who quickly tell you off and ask if the country belongs to your father when they do something wrong and you try to correct them? The workers who embezzle funds, take bribes, give bribe, condone corruption and milk the state at the expense of the poor and vulnerable? Could it also be the workers who tell you Ghana is not their property so they will not die working for this country? Or the workers who short-change this country and condone shoddy work and mediocrity?

The aforementioned are some of the workers who took the front-line yesterday, held placards and demanded better remuneration among others from the state. Ironically, they most likely have forgotten about their own responsibility to our dear country.

Who are the other group of workers that we celebrated yesterday and must always celebrate?

We must always celebrate people like the following. The teacher in a deprived community in Ghana who drinks from a contaminated water source, is paid less but loves his job; the tomato seller who yells at the man who just dropped the water sachet on the street after drinking water; the public servant who remains disciplined and committed to his job despite the challenges he faces; the young entrepreneur who is struggling to keep his business going, create jobs and contribute to our country’s economy.

Whichever way you see this, it is important for you and me to be reminded that the real workers who deserve to be celebrated are those who contribute to seeing this country blossom and not those who would rather watch it wither and die away.

It is about time we reflect deeply on the meaning of the days we commemorate as a country, including Independence Day, Constitution Day, Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day and Workers’ Day.

Our holidays are fast becoming an opportunity for people to only stay at home and avoid work, rather than stay at home and reflect on the real essence of marking those days. The feeling of patriotism needs to be ignited in Ghanaians and that is what our holidays must be about.

May 3, 2019

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