When the Government of Ghana decided in the 1990’s to construct a Thermal Power Plant at Aboadze in the Western Region to enhance the country’s power generating capacity, it was only natural that the services of welders and other technicians would be required. Characteristically, the welders put in a lot of work to see the official launching of the 360 Megawatt (MW) Thermal Power Plant in 1997.
However, the welders on the project were not happy about the conditions of service and how they were generally treated. Benefits due them were also not paid. After some agitations, it became clear that there was a need for an association to synergize their fight for common goal(s). WAPAG was formed.
Although the association has faced some ups and downs including collapses, it is now a strong force to reckon with.
- Harness all engineering related workers for job opportunities especially those in the construction field, most of whom are not permanent workers.
- Create a pool of technical workers for export where possible or necessary [using Philippines as a case study].
Although leadership has managed to keep the association organized to a large extent, absence of legal backing makes it extremely difficult to enforcement control systems and code of conduct.
According to Mr. Fareed Mohammed Amoah, the Vice President, the current executives have taken many steps and met people like the late President, Professor J. E. A. Mills as well as Ministers of state to get attention for WAPAG but those efforts have not yet yielded fruits. “Indeed, some of our members become disillusioned and fall back when expectations are not met. Nevertheless, we have strong regular membership of about 700”, said Fareed. He added, “our strength so far is that we have recently sent some of our members to Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone while the association earned some money in the process”.
The seemingly satisfied Vice President, who has been in office for four years, explained that it was fulfilling to harness the youth from the streets, train or retrain them well and export their talents in order to bring hard currency into the economy. The advantage Ghanaian workers have over those from Philippines and other countries is that labour is relatively cheaper in Ghana.
WAPAG plans, especially in the short term to strengthen its internal structures and empower members to be more proficient in not only technical skills but management as well as entrepreneurial skills.
P. O. Box: NT Co 1486, Tema – Ghana
Phone: +233 223 06493 / 244 050843
Location: Afariwa Junction, Opposite Star of Bethlehem School, Tema – Ghana