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General News of Monday, 11 February 2019

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Ghana Railways not on the verge of losing its properties – Management

The Ghana Railway Company Limited (GRCL) has refuted claims that they are on the verge of losing some of its properties after they were hit with a GHC54 million judgement debt by the Sekondi High Court.

About 674 workers who were laid off in 2006 filed a suit against Railways Company for sacking them without recourse to due process, for which the High Court ruled in favour of the aggrieved workers that properties of the company be auctioned to make up for the GHC54 million judgment debt.

Refuting the claims, management of the Railway Company said they “decided to downsize its workforce due to increasing wage bill and other overhead cost and then adopted certain pragmatic steps which included early retirement of staff between the ages of 57 and 60 years to save the company from collapsing”.

According to them, the severance package which was negotiated had been paid since February 2, 2010 and is currently contesting the judgement at the Appeals Court.

Read below the full statement by management of the Ghana Railway Company

REJOINDER: GHC54m JUDGEMENT DEBT HITS GHANA RAILWAYS

The attention of Ghana Railway Company Limited (GRCL) has been drawn to a publication by Ghanaweb on 9th February, 2019 that GRCL is on the verge of losing some of its properties in Sekondi after a High Court in Sekondi hit it with a Gh¢54 million judgment debt.

GRCL refutes the claims in the said publication and explains as follows:

In 2006, Management of GRCL decided to downsize its workforce due to increasing wage bill and other overhead cost and then adopted certain pragmatic steps which included early retirement of staff between the ages of 57 and 60 years to save the company from collapsing.

Management convened a Standing Joint Negotiating Committee (SJNC) meeting comprising GRCL Management, Railway Workers Union, Railway Enginemen Union of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and agreed on terms and conditions for the retirement emolument and fringe benefit for those who would be affected by the retrenchment and retirement exercises.

The severance package which was negotiated had been paid since 2nd February, 2010.

The retrenched staff dissatisfied with the severance package filed a motion at the High Court in Sekondi against GRCL seeking severance package based on the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the Condition of Service for Senior Officers of the affected staff.

After several sittings, judgment was finally given on 7th December, 2015 by His Lordship Peter Kwabena Ababio. The learned Judge concluded that what was to be paid to the 674 affected staff must be a computation based on the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the conditions of service of the Senior Staff Association less what had already been paid to the plaintiffs as their retrenchment or severance benefit and should attract interest at the bank rate from 2nd February to the date of judgment for the delay in the payment by Management of GRCL.

The learned judge also ordered that the affected staff still in occupation of the GRCL quarters/bungalows vacate the premises within three (3) months from the date of the judgment.

Currently, GRCL is contesting this judgment at the Appeals Court. Besides, most of the retrenched workers are still occupying the quarters/bungalows of GRCL all these years without paying rent and mesne profits. Parties therefore, need to reconcile to arrive at the final rights and liabilities of each other.

Meanwhile, there is an application to set aside the writ of Fi fa and for Stay of Execution before the High Court, Sekondi.