The Trade Union Congress (TUC) Ghana has asked the management of Sunon Asogli Power Ghana Limited to reinstate the three local union leaders of the company whose appointments were wrongfully terminated by April 3,2023.
The Union cautioned the management of Sunon Asogli Power (Ghana) Limited 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 their employees for belonging to a union of their choice.
“We are serving notice 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 victimization by the company have not ceased, the TUC and all its affiliate unions shall have no other option but to advise themselves,” the Union said.
Dr Anthony Yaw Baah, Secretary-General, TUC Ghana, speaking at a press conference in Accra, said the management of the company terminated the employment of three of the Sunon Asogli Power (Ghana) branch union leaders, including the Union Secretary, the Assistant Secretary, and the Chairperson, for the reason that they had joined a trade union and been elected to lead workers at the enterprise level.
“We cannot stand by and watch these violations and abuses of workers’ rights go on after 66 years of independence from colonial rule.
“These workers have not committed any crime and have not broken any company rule; they are being abused by their Chinese bosses and Ghanaian collaborators,” he said.
Dr Baah said over 68 workers of the company took the decision to join the Ghana Mineworkers’ Union in February 2021.
It said the Union and the workers went through the necessary legal processes to acquire a Collective Bargaining Certificate that empowered the Union to represent and negotiate with the company on behalf of the workers.
He said the company, through its lawyers, demanded to know the names of the workers as a condition for the recognition of the Collective Bargaining Certificate issued by the Labour Department.
The situation led to misunderstanding and ended at the National Labour Commission, and the Commission on two occasions directed and ruled that the names of the workers did not arise at this stage and that the certificate was properly and legally acquired, so the company should comply and enter negotiations with the Union.
The TUC Secretary General said that based on the company’s intransigence and refusal to comply with sections 102 and 111 of the Labour Act 2003 (Act 651), a notice of intention to embark on strike was served by the Union on both the company and the National Labour Commission.
The National Labour Commission summoned the parties to appear before it on March 1, 2023, given the essential nature of the company’s operations.
It said the company failed to appear before the Commission but got its lawyers to send a note to the Commission, indicating that their unavailability was because they were appearing before another high court.
He said the Union had evidence of query letters being issued to its members, who were all off duty and had attended a meeting at the instance of the Union on Friday, February 13, 2023, after work (5:30pm) in a public space close to the company’s gate to fraternise and to inform them of an impending election of their leaders at the enterprise level.
He said following the absence of the company, the Commission rescheduled the hearing to March 8, 2023, but directed both parties to “stay all ongoing and/or any intended action(s).”
The actions of the Commission referred to, were the “intended strike by the complainant Union, the issuance of queries, and the request for responses to same by the respondent management, including any other action(s) that may be directly or indirectly related to the issue(s) in dispute.”
He urged the company’s authorities to resolve the issue as early as possible in keeping with Section 162 (1) of the Labour Act (2003 Act 651) to avoid any further escalation with unpredictable consequences.
When contacted by the Ghana News Agency, the management of the Sunon Asogli declined to comment on the matter.