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Business News of Friday, 24 April 2015


Industrial workers sacrificing to keep their jobs

A Citi News investigation into the effects of the nation’s current power crisis on employment has uncovered an interesting development where workers are making sacrifices so as to be able to remain employed.

For most of these workers, they have had to make such sacrifices in other to complement the efforts of their employers who have made other sacrifices to save their businesses.

“We have sacrificed for six or seven years without upgrading our salaries due to the challenges that we went through. Our prayer is that one day shareholders will not give the mandate to management to come and say that please close the place down and give us our money,” said Samuel Akofo Gyekye, the local union chairman of Aluworks limited.

The workers at Aluworks are among the many employees who as a result of the harsh economic conditions coupled with erratic power supply have had to make so many sacrifices so both employers and employees will be satisfied.

It has become common knowledge that the power situation is wreaking havoc on many companies.

While some are finding it difficult to break even, others have folded up.

Industry is the most affected by the power situation. Many are running on generators, increasing their cost of production.

Others have to go with the ECG load-shedding schedule which is not even reliable.

Management of these companies are having a tough time staying in business, but workers have had to make sacrifices too.

In the industrial sector, thousands of casual workers have lost their jobs.

Permanent workers, on the other hand, are probably keeping their jobs because most companies at this point can’t afford to pay severance packages due the employees when they are laid off.

Nonetheless, these workers on a daily basis are not only making sacrifices so they can maintain a steady job in this difficult economic downturn, they are also sacrificing to keep the companies in business

Crocodile Machete, producers of crocodile Machetes, largely rely on the ECG schedule to produce. So they are not able to run five days a week. So workers now work on Saturdays. This ordinarily should attract extra money because it is considered as “overtime”.

“Now we work for three days and two days is taken off by the ECG. If you work on Saturday, it is judged as overtime because it’s more than 40 hours,” said Albert Gamah, the local union chairman at Crocodile Machete.

“Because of that, we had an internal meeting with our workers and we work on Saturday so that at least the company will be losing one day out of the week so we work on Saturday free for the company”

Pioneer Food Cannery Ltd (PFC) is a huge international company that has been in existence for years. They run six days in a week even in the power crises.

The company secured generators so they can keep producing for the Ghanaian and international market, but even their workers have had to make some sacrifices too.

They have laid off about 800 casual workers since the power problems begun. So now, pressure is on the permanent workers to work at breaking point.

The chairman of the PFC local union, Albert Koomson said workers are now being stretched beyond their limits.

“The work that maybe three or four people have to do is allocated to one person and so there is stress now. You don’t have time to even spend at the canteen. He said, “sometimes even closing hours are delayed because they need to hit certain targets that will keep the company in operation.”

Albert Koomson said most people, as a result, fall sick very often.

“Some of them have worked there for some twenty years, some fifteen years,” he said; “You know as you are growing in the business your strength and everything is coming down, when the pressure comes small time some of them fall sick”

Until the power crises is resolved, workers who are lucky to still have their jobs will only have to work extra hard and make more sacrifices