The management of Sunon Asogli Power (Ghana) Limited has been given up to June 26 to reinstate the three union leaders who were allegedly dismissed for their roles in unionising workers of the company.
Organised Labour, which issued the ultimatum in Accra yesterday, also called on the government to urgently intervene in the matter before the announced date or risk industrial actions.
“We are today asking the management of Sunon Asogli to reinstate the union leaders before June 26 this year. We are extending same request to the government to take up the matter and ensure the workers go back to their work and all forms of intimidation against the workers for opting to unionise stopped immediately. Failure to do this, we will advise ourselves as Organised Labour,” Dr Anthony Yaw Baah, Secretary General of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) stated.
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The ultimatum was issued following a meeting attended by representatives of the various trade unions including TUC, Ghana Mine Workers’ Union (GMWU), National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Civil and Local Government Staff Association, Ghana (CLOGSAG), University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG), Judicial Service Staff Association of Ghana (JUSAG), Ghana Medical Association (GMA) and Concerned Teachers Association of Ghana (C-TAG).
According to Dr Baah, Organised Labour would further report the matter to the International Labour Conference on June 9, as part of actions aimed at resolving the impasse saying that “we are determined to see to the reasonable conclusion of this matter.”
Explaining the involvement of Organised Labour in the matter, he said, the group was compelled to focus its efforts on resolving the impasse after Sunon Asogli failed to re-appoint the union leaders despite extensive engagements with the GMWU and TUC.
He said, the action of the company was in violation of the rights of the workers to form and join a trade union of their choice, as guaranteed by the 1992 Constitution of Ghana and the Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651).
“The dismissal of the three local union leaders on the basis of their decision to join a union of their choice poses an existential threat to all Ghanaian workers who want to exercise their constitutional right to join a union to protect their interests,” he added.
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Dr Baah, however, pledged that Organised Labour would explore all available means to ensure the workers were reinstated.
President of NAGRAT, Angel Carbonu, chided the management of the company for their actions saying that “Unions have come to stay and we will not allow anyone, whether in the private or public sector, to intimidate us.”
He explained that, unions were critical stakeholders in the development of harmonious working atmosphere in all organisations and pledged the commitment of Organised Labour in the protection of the rights of workers to join or form unions.
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He reiterated that, threats to unions in the private sector equally threatens unionisation in the public sector, hence the coming together of all labour groups to nip the canker in the bud.
Mr Carbonu urged the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations to immediately see to the resolution of the matter to avert any possible industrial actions in the labour front.
Executive Secretary of CLOGSAG, Dr Isaac Bampoe Addo, appealed to Togbe Afede, Co-Founder of Sunon Asogli Power (Ghana) to take keen interest in the matter and reinstate the dismissed workers to avoid further actions by Organised Labour.
Similarly, other representatives of the various Labour groups urged the government and the company to take immediate steps to resolve the impasse or face the full force of the unions.
It would be recalled that on March 2 this year, three workers of Sunon Asogli Power (Ghana) Limited were dismissed which the TUC said was linked to the decision of the workers to join the GMWU.
The company, however, refuted the claims, explaining that “the termination of the employment contract between three former employees of the company and the company had nothing to do with their joining the union.
The company believes that an employment contract is not servitude and either party to the contract may terminate the contract at any material time, in accordance with the provisions of Act 651 and the contract.”
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS