Back in 2017, It was revealed that night watchmen go through a lot to earn far too less compared to the minimum wage by then, a development that triggered a debate as to whether the aged should be exempted from such works due to the risky Nature of it.
Most organizations and shop owners have employed old aged, 65 to 85 years as night watchmen on very scanty salaries for thirteen hours work per night and This trend cut across most parts of country.
Most of the watchmen receive salaries ranging from 50 cedis to 100 cedis per month.This is far below the minimum wage rate which stands at 8.00 per eight hours of work.
Most of the watchmen perform their duties in dirty and vulnerable environments; their employers often provide them with cutlasses and knives to perform their duty under constant attacks by hardened criminals wielding guns and pistols, mostly, as claimed by some of the watchmen.
Interviewing 10 night watchmen with similar opinions they said “I do not have any other option to make livelihood.”
But the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Article 23 says everybody has the “right to work, to just and favorable working conditions with equal pay for equal work.
Mr. Sulemana Issahaq, 70 years old night watchman said the work was extremely difficult during raining nights, particularly, and criminal attacks were common. Yet their salaries are scanty and there was no end-of- service benefit for him and most of his colleagues.
Mr. Baani Tisah, another night watchman said the work was very risky he had a cutlass only to protect himself. He said it was obvious that their employers had found cheap labour in employing old men as watchmen.
Another night watchman, Mr. Illiasu Asigri blamed the situation on high unemployment level, and ineffective law enforcement leading to the dehumanizing of most night watchmen in the municipality.
Amadu Sombo, 70 years old stated that “I don’t want to be a thief, so I am doing this hopeless work for a living in the meantime.”
But some of the employers failed to speak to the Bridge’s Ishmael on several occasions. They often said ‘I am busy.’
For some they said they had negotiated the salaries with the employees and that the watchmen were not under any obligation to accept the offer it was below their expectations.
Credit: Ismael A. Journagh