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Business News of Tuesday, 10 April 2018


MDU clashes with shipping line over labour laws

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The Maritime Dockworkers Union (MDU) is in dispute with Ocean Network Express (ONE) Group, a Japanese global container shipping company, which is a joint venture of three container shipping lines MOL, NYK and K-Line, over the alleged breach of labour laws of the country.

The MDU, an affiliate of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) Ghana, in a statement, claimed the group, which started operations in Ghana just last month, “is proceeding with violations of the Labour Act.

It has, therefore, vowed to resist any illegalities perpetrated against the workers.

According to the MDU, the manner in which the management of MOL managed the transition into the Ocean Network Express (ONE) Group led to the dispute.

MDU said the Managing Director of MOL Michael Durrant Cooper is to be blamed for the anomalies.

The MDU said it filed a complaint to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations but Mr Cooper allegedly “refused to provide the list of the workers who would be maintained in the new joint venture of ONE Group and those whose employment would end with MOL Ghana to the MDU.”

“When that issue had not been settled, Mr. Cooper verbally informed four workers to go on leave, because they would not be part of the ONE Group,” the statement said, adding “Mr Cooper is constituting himself into a one-man interview panel to conduct interviews that had pre-determined outcomes because even before the interviews, he introduced a system of getting some of the retained employees to understudy those who would not be part of the ONE Group.”

The MDU said it told the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations that the management of MOL Ghana had taken unilateral decisions in the course of negotiations and refused to discuss “measures to be taken to avert or minimise the termination, as well as measures to mitigate the adverse effects of any termination on the workers concerned such as finding alternative employment as provided in Section 65 (1 a & b) of the Labour (Act 65, 2003).”

The MDU also stated in the complaint to the Minister that Mr. Cooper “unilaterally prepared cheques of redundancy pay for the employees which he claimed are part payment of the redundancy pay when they had not negotiated a redundancy package and the terms of payment.”

“The management of MOL Ghana/ONE Group requested the employees to collect the cheques as part payment of the redundancy pay while they await the conclusion of negotiations with the union in blatant violation of Section 65 (4) of the Labour Act (Act 651), 2003.”

“There would be the same 23 vacancies in the ONE Group as pertained in the MOL Ghana yet Mr Cooper decided not to retain the four staff, three of whom are local union executives as part of his union-busting methods.”

Daniel Owusu-Koranteng, General Secretary of the MDU was quoted in the media as saying that “the union will continue to use every legal opening, including mass actions, to ensure that MOL/ONE Group respects the dignity and laws of Ghana.”

“Foreign companies must behave as good corporate citizens and respect the laws of Ghana and not undermine our sovereignty,” he said.

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