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General News of Thursday, 15 July 2010

Source: GNA

Government says it does not owe GIA workers

Accra, July 15, GNA- Government on Thursday said it was not responsible for the payment of salaries of workers of Ghana International Airline (GIA) and questioned the basis for the attack launched on it by the management and staff of the Airline.

It said it was never responsible for the non-payment of their salaries over the last couple of months.

A statement signed by Mr James Agyenim-Boateng, Deputy Minister of Information said the workers' attack was misdirected adding that the responsibility of paying workers salaries had always been the responsibility of the management of the airline.

"It is understandable that the management may be facing some challenges as a result of the false-start in the operations of the airline and its mismanagement since its inception. But where they have problems, they should be looking at ways to solve the problems instead of launching attacks on government as a shareholder", it said.

The statement, however, noted that government was compelled to ask the Airline to suspend the sale of tickets and its operations because the Airline was unable to finance an aircraft for its operations, while it had sold nearly 9,000 tickets in advance.

"That decisive government decision has been followed up by the constitution of a team to ensure that all GIA passengers who have not activated their tickets have their monies refunded while those who have already flown one leg are put on other flights to complete their journeys," it said.

The statement said despite selling these tickets and collecting cash payments for them, the GIA management had no funds in its coffers to take care of the ticket refund arrangement.

The statement added that Government had so far borne the cost of flying stranded passengers to their destinations and was presently working to refund ticket payments for passengers, who had not commenced their journeys.

It also stated that the process had also delayed incredibly because the staff of GIA, who should provide information and details on passengers, their routing and amount paid for tickets, had since the beginning of June not been able to provide the required information.

"If the Airline, which is a limited liability company, is unable to sustain its operations and pay its staff, why should that difficulty be blamed on government?

"It will also be interesting to know from the management why it is that after selling nearly 9,000 tickets in advance and collecting cash payments for them, it does not have funds to pay its staff?" it said.