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Butchers operating in the Bolgatanga Municipality of the Upper East Region have embarked on an indefinite strike over efforts by the Municipal Assembly to relocate them to a new abattoir at Yorogo.
According to the butchers, the new abattoir is not only far from the town, but that they were never consulted.
The old abattoir employs about 300 butchers and salesmen serving a population of over one million and remains the only abattoir that supplies meat to households, food vendors and hotels in the municipality.
But the dilapidated state of the abattoir and its attendant environmental conditions compelled the Bolga assembly to construct a new abattoir at Yorogo, a suburb of Bolga, at a cost of GH¢1.2 million for the butchers.
But the butchers say, actions by the assembly to lock up the old abattoir to force them to relocate to the new abattoir have resulted in their strike.
Speaking to Citi News, some of the butchers say, they will only resume work if the assembly unlocks the old abattoir.
Chief Butcher, Tindanzor Kologdor, said, “The assembly is forcing us to move to Yorogo, but the youth here are raising concerns about the distance which is far and saying that it will lead to job losses. We are about 300, but the new abattoir can only take 20, that is why the youth are resisting the relocation”.
“The assembly gave us a letter to relocate to the new abattoir. When we reported to work on Tuesday, the assembly had locked up the abattoir. So, we will continue the strike until the assembly unlocks the old abattoir for us.”
Another butcher, Ibrahim Osman, stated that, “We are on strike because the Bolga assembly in a letter directed that we should relocate to the new abattoir in Yorogo on January 18, 2022. So, we were discussing the letter when we received a call for a meeting at the assembly, but we couldn’t make it.”
“So, we were planning to see how we would solve the issue, but when we came to work on January 18, 2022, the assembly had locked the abattoir. We are ready to work if the assembly opens the abattoir, else we will continue the strike”
But the Municipal Chief Executive for Bolgatanga, Rex Asanga tells Citi News that, the old abattoir was locked after several attempts to relocate the butchers peacefully proved futile.
“It is true that the assembly has locked up the old abattoir because the butchers are required to move to a new abattoir that government has built at a cost of GH¢1.2 million which was completed and handed over about 5-years ago and the assembly has since been in dialogue with the butchers to move to the facility.”
“The butchers signed an MoU with the assembly after about six conditions raised by them were resolved by the assembly, and they agreed to move to the new abattoir by January 1, 2022, but they didn’t move. So, the assembly invited them to a meeting over the relocation, but they failed to attend so, the assembly fixed January 18, 2022, for them to relocate and that is why we (assembly) locked up the old abattoir”.
It is unclear if the butchers will rescind their decision anytime soon.