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Business News of Monday, 26 September 2016


Ghana Gas justifies dismissal of 13 workers, withholding salary of 42 others

The Ghana National Gas Company (GNGC) says it did not err in dismissing 13 workers and withholding the August salary of 42 others after they violated company rules and engaged in an illegal strike.

Head of communications at the company, Alfred Ogbarmey, says the action of the workers contravenes the Labour Act 2003 (Act 651) which entreats aggrieved workers to serve notice of an intended strike ahead of time.

Speaking to Dzifa Bampoh on Joy FM’s Top Story programme Monday, Mr Ogbarmey said: “The workers of the Union failed to go through the lawful process even after the Minister of Petroleum and Omanhene of Atuabo have called them to consider their action.”

The local union of the General Transport, Petroleum and Chemical Workers’ Union at the GNGC took to the streets on August 28 over what they said were unfavourable conditions of service at the processing plant.

They claimed the remuneration given them was discouraging and the plant was not fitted with an up-to-date fire-extinguishers which they said if not addressed would compromise safety at the plant.

The strike marred the workers releationship with some members of management who did not treat their action lightly. This triggered an investigation into circumstances leading to the agitation and subsequently punitive measures meted to some workers for an "unlawful conduct."

Even though the sector Minister, Eammanuel Armah Kofi Buah had urged calm, Mr Ogbarmey said managment stands by its decision.

“Ghana Gas is a limited liability company and it is not controlled by the minister, there is a board and shareholders and as far as I know the Employment Minister advised management not to dismiss them but that could not be said to be a directive,” he said.

But reacting to the decision, the National Vice chair of the General Transport, Petroleum and Chemical Workers’ Union, Sam Boateng says what the workers did was to raise concerns regarding the safety of the plant.

“We have over GHC1 billion plant secured with tax payers money which they say if safety issues are not resolved, things might prove dangerous,” he said.

He asked why the workers would be made to suffer when they were just seeking to protect the national interest.

“Two wrongs do not make right,” he said, urging management to reconsider its decision.