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General News of Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Source: GNA

Investigate PSC Tema Shipyard - Dockworkers' Union

Accra, Feb. 24, GNA - The Maritime and Dockworkers Union (MDU) of Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC) has called for full investigations into the purchase and operations of PSC Tema Shipyard Company.

A position paper signed for Mr Eben Mensah, General Secretary of MDU, and made available to GNA on Tuesday, said it would be important to investigate whether an outstanding debt of 1.3 million dollars the Company owed the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC) as at 2003 plus the interest accrued had been paid.

It said the Business Focus of Malaysia bought 60 per cent of the shares of the Shipyard from the DIC in 1997 at a cost 4.3 million dollars but paid 3.02 million dollars. Ghana Government retained 40 per cent of the shares.

The MDU said the Shipyard was operating below its capacity because the Management had not provided the necessary tools and equipment, adding that it was unable to provide basic services to ships, such as undertaking sanitation contracts.

It said because of the incompetence of the Management there are always industrial relations problems one of which had led to the locking out of 219 employees.

It said the Management of the Company had flouted the National Labour Commission's ruling given on 6th February 2009 to recall the 219 employees it locked out.

The MDU paper said the Management has resorted to employing unskilled labour on contract basis and this had led to increase in accidents at the workplace, citing the electrocution of two contract workers.

It said the unorthodox way of carrying out hot works at the anchorage instead of at the dry dock led to the fire outbreak of 25th March 2005 in which 17 people, including 14 Ghanaians, died. The MDU said it viewed the Tema Shipyard as a strategic national asset, especially with the recent oil find, which is attracting many ships that would need servicing to the West Coast.