The Ghana Federation of Labour has encouraged Okada riders in the informal economy to unionise.
The Federation said it will also assist the riders to enhance their operational competence for the promotion and protection of their social and economic interest.
“Considering the apprehension being expressed by a section of the public over road safety, we have undertaken to engage the leadership of the operators to discuss their challenges with the view to impacting attitudinal change even before a new law is enacted to legalise the sector activities,” the Federation noted in a statement.
Deepened discussions, according to the federation, is ongoing with the leadership of the Okada riders aimed at consolidating their structures.
Okada is the use of motorcycles for commercial passenger purposes.
The riders have been in the news lately after the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and its flagbearer, Mr John Mahama, promised in their 2020 manifesto that they will legalise the business if elected in the December elections.
Speaking to the chiefs, people and party supporters at Kpando in the Volta Region on Friday, 21 August 2020, Mr Mahama said: “I’ve been seeing young people who have finished school and they can’t find a job and, so, they are looking for something they can do and many of our young people are riding motorcycles and transporting people from place to place, and we call them Okada”.
“But in our law, it says Okada is illegal but Okada is a reality, it has come to stay, you can’t stop it, and, so, I’ve suggested and I say when we come into office, we will legalise Okada but we will regulate it”, Mr Mahama said.
Meanwhile, despite pressure from the riders, the Akufo-Addo-led government says it will not legalise their activities but will give them a better alternative of leasing vehicles to them to pay over time.
Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, at the strategic collaboration of Volkswagon & Blackivy to launch Volkswagon’s new assembled cars in Ghana on Wednesday, 16 September 2020, said: “I know that there’s been a recent discussion about Okada in Ghana, I think that in the context of what we are doing we will rather encourage the Okada riders to come in and try to lease these vehicles so that they can run businesses.
“They need to graduate from this risky and less safe Okada riding to a safer means of transportation.
“Their problem will be a lack of capital but if you bring in new leasing policies and we have our national ID cards with our digital addresses we can have a credit system working and give you an option other than this risky job.
“You don’t want to finish driving school and then make a life in Okada riding.
“You can have a better option and we’ll give you a better option.
“So, yes, we will not legalise Okada business. It may be a tough decision but it is in the interest of Ghanaians.
“We have had discussions but we will stick to our decision to provide a better alternative to okada riding. Let’s give them an opportunity to lease vehicles and pay over time.”