Workers of the Tema Oil Refinery with the support of the Tema District Council of Labour are poised to embark on a total sit down strike following what they term an attempt to run down the facility by poor management.
They say the strike will later be followed with a massive demonstration if the government fails to act to deal with the numerous issues facing the Company.
The workers are also calling on the removal of their Managing Director on the grounds of incompetence.
There seems to be serious agitation within the worker front at the Tema Oil Refinery due to the non functioning of the company.
According to the workers, the nation’s premier Refinery is bleeding and will soon collapse if nothing is done to save it.
The refinery was in the news for owing some statutory debts amounting to over 100 million Ghana cedis.
Although management in a press release says efforts are being made to clear the said debts and plans far advanced to turn the company around, the workers are alluding that the statutory debts as published in the news is the least of the major problems at TOR.
Information available indicates that the management as we speak is struggling to pay salaries of it’s workers because of the unavailability of crude to refine which is due to abrogation of contract from it’s tolling partner and failure to take advantage of other business modules available to make the plant viable.
The workers say the current MD is not helping matters at TOR as he seems to be bereft of strategies to run the nation’s premier Refinery hence the call for his immediate removal.
“This Managing Director is the worst the Tema Oil Refinery has ever witnessed because he has no idea of what to do to make the plant viable. The earliest he is removed from office, the better for the Refinery because he has nothing to offer”. Some workers said at a stewards meeting organized by the unions within the plant.
The ability to manage profitably should be an ability to turn around the assets, this has been the desperation of workers and it was not so proven in the press release by management, rather it was virtually about going to seek help from the government.
TOR is a strategic national asset, held in trust by the workers for all Ghanaians; therefore the mismanagement of TOR must be a shared concern by all Ghanaians.
At one point when there was huge debt hanging on TOR due to subsidy of petroleum products and some level of mismanagement over the years, the TOR debt recovery levy was passed as a tax for all Ghanaians to bear, this has continued as the Energy Sector Levy Act (ESLA) which all Ghanaians are continuing to pay. Therefore in the same vein, the profitable management of TOR will no doubt lead to an inevitable gain for the benefit of all Ghanaians.
Discussion within the media fraternity and the Ghanaians who are expressing concern (remember that the TOR worker has a spouse, children, parents, siblings, relatives, friends and other acquaintances , all being Ghanaians at large) for the Refinery’s predicament has this questions for management of the Company to answer, and if management of the Company is not able to provide answers, then the press release they did issue is nothing short of irrelevance, hence they must be charged for mismanagement, incompetence, inefficiency just as the workers have purported to be saying.
“TOR being a production entity, are its assets and business dimensions not huge enough to be able to generate revenue other than the usual running to the government for funds for recapitalization?. If the refinery had been managed profitably, would that not have given the government some relief to invest in other sectors of the economy and meet the social needs of Ghanaians instead of TOR management running to the government for all the monies already injected and more being asked for. ?”
“The press release had management putting in a defense that an arrangement is put in place to pay the outstanding benefits to retirees. “When was the arrangement started? What is that specific arrangement to pay PF when tolling which contributes to 80% of revenue has been brought to a halt.?””
They also ask, “When was the special task force put in place for debt collection and what percentage of debts has so far been retrieved.? And TOR has no crude oil to process or for tolling; the tolling forms about 80% of the cash flow. Why will any serious management cancel or frustrate any business partner from bringing crude for tolling when a new contract has not been delivered? How do you close the cash flow gap?”
They said, Management’s excuses on Covid 19 and its related effects on the plant, has nothing to do with its operations and that its recent press release pointed to debts within the period of 2009 – 2016, but that it goes beyond 2016.
“If TOR’s mandate as set in the Companies regulation is to carry out the business of refiners, importers, stores, suppliers, buyers and sellers of petroleum products in all its branches, why has the importation of LPG and other products not become regularly part of the refinery’s business till April 2021 as captured in your press release? TOR is gradually on the verge of collapse and the earlier the numerous issues are addressed, the better. We cannot sit and watch this national asset collapse. We the workers are at the losing end should this plant collapse,” they said
Checks on the TDCL leadership has given assurance of it’s readiness to support the workers of the Refinery in the effort to address the managerial crises.
The workers are confident that the President, His Excellency Nana Addo- Dankwah Akuffo Addo is fatherly enough to remove the current M.D and give to the workers the kind of a new M.D who can turn the huge assets of TOR profitably.