The Reverend Dr. Samuel Worlanyo Mensah, an Economist, has advised the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC) to rescind its decision to embark on a nationwide strike over the sacking of three staff members of the Sunon Asogli Power Ghana Limited.
The TUC had directed all workers to embark on an indefinite strike starting from Monday, July 10, 2023, in solidarity with the sacked workers.
Rev. Dr. Mensah, who is also the Executive Director of the Centre for Greater Impact Africa, reacting to the impending strike in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Tema, said it was wrong to grind the whole work force to a halt in support of the three workers, saying it would lead to production challenges.
He indicated that “the action will affect productivity and add to the already severe economic crisis the country is facing; this will affect revenue that will be used to pay the same workforce that wants to embark on a strike.”
“Why should the state machinery for production, private entities, health facilities, academic institutions go on strike because of an industrial dispute between TUC and a private company – Sunon Asogli Power Plant,” Rev. Dr. Mensah asked.
He advised the TUC to rather pursue a civil case against Sunon Asogli to ensure that the needed compensation was paid to the sacked workers, explaining that under the circumstances it would be difficult for the company to reinstate them.
He described the issue as a minor one that should not have escalated into a national strike, adding that it was unfortunate that the management of Sunon Asogli did not handle it well.
He added, however, that for the entire labour force of the country to embark on a strike in solidarity with the three workers was a misplaced priority.
Rev. Dr. Mensah called on the government, TUC, and Sunon Asogli management to find a lasting solution to the issue to bring some harmony on the labour front.
He called for expanded structures to cater for labour-related issues, noting that the Sunon Asogli issue was just a part of the multidimensional challenges the country faced as far as labour was concerned.
He said putting in place the right structures would help protect Ghanaian workers, as no entity would have the chance to maltreat its workers in the country.
He, however, said it was not enough for labour unions to compel workers to join them but rather to ensure that all laid-down procedures in the formation and joining of unions were followed to avoid creating confusion between workers and their management.
Meanwhile, GNA Court report indicates that Sunon Asogli and National Labour Commission (NLC) have reached an agreement and are due to announce terms of settlement before the court.
At the High Court on Thursday, Ms Afiba Amihere, counsel for the NLC (applicant), told the court that after the Wednesday meeting with the parties, they had reached an agreement on the terms of settlement.
Ms Amihere therefore prayed the court to adjourn the matter to Friday so that the parties would announce the terms of settlement to the court.
The trial judge indicated that he would be attending a training programme on Friday, hence he adjourned the matter to Monday July 10.
The court advised the parties to maintain the status quo in the matter.
The NLC had gone to the High Court to enforce its decision in a complainant filed by the Ghana Mineworkers against Sunon Asogli.
The NLC had gone to court to ensure that Sunon Asogli (the respondent) rescind its decision to terminate the employment of members of a local union.
Sunon Asogli said the termination of employment of three of its staff had nothing to do with the joining of a union.
“……. there is no indication anywhere by the respondent (Sunon Asogli Power Ghana Limited) that it sought to terminate the employment of the three employees for reasons relating to the joining of a union.”
The respondent only exercised its rights as an employer to terminate an employment contract with the said employees.
The said termination of the employment contract between the respondent and the three employees had absolutely nothing to do with the queries issued to 34 employees nor the unionization of the employee in any way whatsoever,” it added.
In an affidavit in opposition to a motion for an order for enforcement of the directives of the NLC (applicant in the case), the respondent said Sunon Asogli said it complied with the provision of Act 651 and the terms of the employment contract and paid salaries of the said employees in lieu of notice of termination.
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