TUC wants sacked mine workers reinstated
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has called on the management of Sunon Asogli Power (Ghana) Ltd to immediately reinstate three local union members of the Ghana Mineworkers Union (GMWU) whose appointments have been wrongfully terminated.
It also cautioned the management of the company to refrain from any further acts of intimidation, fear and panic being unleashed on its members in the company and stop the abuse of the rights of their employees to belong to a union of their choice.
“We are serving notice and notice is hereby served that if by April 3, 2023, the three local union leaders who have been dismissed are not reinstated and the various acts of intimidation and victimisation by Sunon Asogli Power (Ghana) Ltd have not ceased, the TUC and all its affiliate unions shall have no other option but to advise themselves,” Secretary General of the TUC, Dr Anthony Yaw Baah, said at a press conference in Accra yesterday.
Dr Baah said the three innocent young men whose only “crime” remained that they had voluntarily joined a trade union and offered to lead their fellow unionised workers at Sunon Asogli Power (Ghana) Ltd, were currently at home.
“As if the termination of employment of the three local union leaders was not enough, the rest of the unionised workers are being subjected to various acts of intimidation, victimisation and abuse by their Chinese bosses and their Ghanaian collaborators,” he said.
He noted that the developments at Sunon Asogli Power (Ghana) Ltd had very serious implications for the exercise of “our constitutional rights as Ghanaians and our efforts and vision towards getting all the working people of Ghana to join the trade union movement to protect their social and economic interests.”
Such a situation, he said, was no longer a matter for only the GMWU of TUC and it was a matter for the TUC and all its affiliates.
Giving a background to the issue, he said nearly 70 workers of the company took the decision to join the GMWU in February 2021 and that the union and the workers at Sunon Asogli went through all the necessary legal processes to acquire a Collective Bargaining Certificate which (empowers the GMWU to represent and negotiate with the company on behalf of the unionised workers) was duly issued by the Chief Labour Officer.
“The company, through its lawyers Fugah and Company, right from the outset, demanded to know the names of the unionised workers as a condition for the recognition of the Collective Bargaining Certificate issued by the Labour Department.
“This issue ended at the National Labour Commission (NLC) and the Commission, on two occasions, directed and ruled that the list of the names of the workers was not relevant at that stage and that the certificate was properly and legally issued to GMWU so the company must enter into negotiations with the union. The company and its lawyers disregarded the decisions of the NLC with impunity and have since refused to respond to any correspondence from GMWU,” he said.
Labour Commission’s ruling
Dr Baah said on the basis of the commission’s ruling and in accordance with the Labour Act, the GMWU wrote to the management of the company in January 2023 inviting them to start negotiations and that in February 2023, the union wrote again to the company with the list of unionised workers requesting the deduction and payment of monthly subscriptions to the union, in accordance with the GMWU Constitution and Labour Act 2003 (Act 651).
“The company refused to comply with the request of the union, citing concerns over the Collective Bargaining Certificate, a matter which had been settled by the NLC.
“Based on the company’s intransigence and blatant refusal to comply with sections 102 and 111 of the Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651), as well as its refusal to respond to any correspondence from the union, a notice of intention to embark on strike was served by the union on the company and copied to the NLC,” he explained.
The NLC, he said, then summoned the parties to appear before it on March 1, 2023, given the essential nature of the company’s operations but the management of the company refused to appear before the commission and that “instead, they got their lawyers to send a note to inform the commission that they could not appear because they were appearing before another high court”.