Dozens of workers of Ameen Sangari Company Limited, the only manufacturing company in Cape Coast, have staged a demonstration to press home their demand for the payment of salary arrears and redundancy packages.
The Lebanese owned Company, manufacturer of soaps, detergents, polish, perfumes, palm oil and the processing of teak into electric poles, has been in existence for over 100 years.It is the oldest manufacturing company in the Central Region.
The workers, clad in red armbands and headgears, besieged the company’s premises chanting war songs to register their protest against poor and unpaid salaries and allowances, discrimination and politicisation.
They held placards, some of which read: “Our wives are leaving us, our kids are starving,” “Management planning to leave the company in the next one week,” “Poor management has collapsed the factory,” “They have been keeping our long service awards since 2018.”
Many of the aggrieved workers the Ghana News Agency spoke with were concerned about the delay in payment of salaries for two years, which had brought hardship to them and their families.
They said management had started selling assets of the Company as scrap with the aim of using the proceeds to pay the arrears, a situation the workers described as unethical and insensitive.
Some of them have worked for the company for decades.
They expressed their displeasure about the manner in which management had been handling their affairs, putting fear in their leadership.
Mr Issah Ibrahim Mohammed, the Vice Chairman of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU), said the workers complained about non- payment of salaries and allowances, especially casual workers, who were engaged for years without regularising their employment.
That, he noted, contravened the Labour Act that made it mandatory for companies to make their casual employees permanent after six months.
Management had also failed to redeem its promise of giving the workers a 25 per cent salary increase.
Mr Moses Otoo, the Regional Head of the ICU, whose presence was timely to calm tempers, expressed shock and disappointment at the behaviour of management for its decision to cease production.
“ICU had engaged management of the company to restrategise on the best possible options to sustain the organisation but they always say ‘we don’t need government intervention’.”
He confirmed the sale of assets of the company as alleged by the workers and that its farms had been sold with refusal to accept any support to revive the factory.
Mr Otoo said they had received credible information that management was planning to leave the country without addressing the concerns of workers.
In that regard, the ICU had called on the Government to immediately intervene and seize the passports of management members who are all Lebanese.
The ICU had also ordered that they stopped selling the assets until the matter was amicably settled and compensations paid.
Mr Michel Ayade, the Chief Engineer, a Lebanese, told the GNA that for some time now there had not been any conscious effort to resolve the plight of the employees.