Regional News of Saturday, 16 February 2013
Fifteen workers of Mobicrane Limited, an oil and gas service provider based in Takoradi, have been dismissed for allegedly attempting to join a labour union.
The workers, made up of field assistants, crane and forklift operators, had their appointment terminated on Wednesday February 13.
Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Takoradi on Friday, one of the dismissed workers, Mr. Mark Osei, a forklift operator, said 16 of the workers last year decided to join the General Transport and Petroleum and Chemical Workers Union (GTPCWU) of the Trades Union Congress in order to gain bargaining power to negotiate with the company for better service conditions.
He alleged that since Management of the company received a petition from the GTPCWU concerning proposal by the workers to join the union, they have been subjected to threats and harassments.
He said some forklift and crane operators who were among the workers who petitioned the GTPCWU have been redeployed while their salaries have been slashed.
Mr Osei said the dismissed workers have petitioned the Western Regional Labour Officer, Madam Elizabeth Acquah on the issue.
A Senior Industrial Relations Officer of GTPCWU in charge of Western and Central Regions, Mr. Francis Sellah, confirmed the dismissal of the workers and assured them that the Union would pursue the matter to its logical conclusion.
He said although he petitioned the company for verification of the status of the workers, he did not receive any response.
Meanwhile, the Administrator of the Company, Mr. Joseph Ani-Agyepong, explained has explained that the workers were dismissed because the company's business operation had reduced.
Mr. Ani-Agyepong noted that the dismissal has nothing to do with the workers intention to join a labour union, saying "the workers have the right to join any union of their choice and Management supports them completely".
Ghana discovered oil and gas in commercial quantities in 2007 but serious drilling started in 2010.
So far, the country had exported about 5.9 million barrels of crude oil raking in about $905 million.