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General News of Wednesday, 16 July 2003

Source: GNA

Do not mix trade unionism with politics

Accra, July 16, GNA - Mr Christian Appiah Agyei, a Member of the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) on Wednesday advised Trade Unionists to desist from mixing trade unionism with politics to the disadvantage workers.

Commissioner Apppiah Agyei, who is the Immediate Past Secretary-General of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) of Ghana, made the remark at a public hearing of the Commission in Accra on Wednesday.

He called on senior officers to protect their subordinates if they got into trouble in the course of discharging their duties. This was after Mr Prince Saxbon, a former employee of the then Posts and Telecommunication Corporation (P&T) told the Commission that he was dismissed through press publications on December 28, 1984 after his 20 years service with the Corporation.

He said the publication accused him and 200 others, of stealing mails and embezzling monies, but no charges were preferred against him. He said together with others accused of similar offences, he had no query, no dismissal letter and had not been paid entitlements to date, all in contravention of the provisions of Article 52 of the Corporations Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Commissioner Appiah Agyei asked Mr Saxbon, who was the then TUC Secretary-General to whom the affected workers could have petitioned. The Witness mentioned one Mr Ayikule.

The two agreed that Mr Ayikule was embroiled in the politics of the day that it was unsafe for him to give them any assistance.

Mr Saxbon said he heard that Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings, then Chairman of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), who had a few days earlier visited the then P&T Headquarters main yard and spoke of a shake-up, was responsible for their dismissal.

Mr Saxbon added that the contributions of Journalists of those times must have contributed to their dismissal.

He said he sent a personal petition to Chairman Rawlings at the Castle, as well as other petitions to the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare, the then Ombudsman, who told them they must pray hard and that their case would be looked into if "Rawlings was no more on the throne". The Chairman of the Commission, Justice Kweku Etrew Amua-Sekyi said the Commission would study the case of the affected workers and make the appropriate recommendations. More YOA/BDB