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General News of Wednesday, 30 July 2003

Source: GNA

KMA reacts to Railway Workers Union's resolution

Kumasi, July 30, GNA - The Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) has taken a strong exception to the resolution of the Ghana Railway Workers Union which called on Mr Maxwell Kofi Jumah, Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE) to apologise to its Management for allegedly walking them out of his office.

A statement issued by the KMA in Kumasi on Monday in reaction to the workers ultimatum, said the action of the union created the wrong impression that the impasse was between workers of the two organisations when in actual fact it was a management-to-management problem. Throwing light on what actually transpired, the statement said on July 10, the Kumasi Area Manager of the Ghana Railway Company (GRC) and some management staff went to see the MCE to outline the company's interest in the stores project being built by the KMA and the World Bank opposite the Kumasi Central Market.

It said the Railway Management told the MCE that since the project was on the company's land, the assembly was obliged to pay ground rent in addition to allocating them 10 of the stores.

The MCE, the statement said, made it clear to them that it was not possible for the assembly to accede to their request since KMA by law does not pay ground rent in Kumasi and as such any demand to that effect was illegal.

It was also explained to them that the 10 stores they were demanding were too much because the assembly had a lot of protocol demands to satisfy.

The statement said when the Area Manager and his staff strongly disagreed with the MCE on his submission, he asked that both parties wait till the Ministerial Committee set up to probe the wanton release of the company's lands to private developers released its report. It said it was the conviction of the MCE that the outcome of the Committee's report could serve as a useful guide to determine the direction of further negotiations between the Assembly and the Company. The statement said when the delegation would still not accept this and started acting disrespectfully, that the MCE asked that they took leave of him as he would deal with their Managing Director in future negotiations, adding that already the Metro Engineer was in contact with the Managing Director of the company for appropriate compromises.

It noted that the Kumasi Office of the company was heavily indebted to the KMA in unpaid property rates and that the company had not paid a pesewa of its rate obligations over the past 14 years and, therefore, owed the Assembly millions of cedis in outstanding payments in spite of countless demand notices sent to the Company.

The statement said in spite of this, the Assembly had still maintained a close working relationship with the Company and pointed out that it was unfortunate that the recent impasse over the payment of ground rent on a piece of land being developed into stores by the KMA should elicit hostile response from the Company's workers. It, therefore, cautioned the workers against hasty actions that had the tendency to destroy the relationship between the two organisations.