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Opinions of Saturday, 1 November 2008

Columnist: Amankwah, Nana Kofi

Delta Air takes Ghanaian employee as cheep labor

Since Delta Airlines began to run their business between Ghana, Accra and New York JFK Air Port a year and a half ago, Ghana has become overall their second best market destination in the world. Delta Airlines is making huge profits on this route. This was an airline industry which was about to experience bankruptcy two years ago and it has been saved by this route. However, with all these great achievements from their counterparts, Ghanaian employees have been treated as fourth-class citizen if one compares the union benefits and retirement package for their employees over here in New York to how those in Ghana are been treated.

The Ghanaian employees who work for Delta at Kotoka International Airport in Ghana Accra begin their shift at 2:00 am in Accra every morning. During these early hours a Delta Airline rental car will go around to various houses and pick up their employee’s for their shift. Delta Airlines did not want to pay these employees as they have paid their staff over here in America or Europe. As a result of this, they have out sourced their entire airport staff to some crooked agency that is treating these citizens like outcastes. They only get pay if the airline comes to Ghana. If it comes twice they will get paid for just those days only. This cyclical attitude toward employment means you work as a seasonal worker without health coverage and you get paid when you show up to work. With all this cruel treatment from this agency, which Delta airlines hired they don’t allow these workers to even have a personal day, even if they actually need a day to rectify a family dilemma. The Department of Labor in Ghana is acting as if the treatment from this Capitalist Airline Industry from Atlanta Georgia in America behavior is delightful to these Ghanaians. However, these oppressed workers don’t have anybody to speak on their behalf on these issues. The majority of the staff in Ghana are college graduates but they are being pay peanuts, if one compares to their fellow workers over here who are not even college graduates but are paid 50 times more.

The Delta Airlines see the unemployment situation in Ghana not as an abuse but as an opportunity to make a fortune in order to pay their employee benefits over here in America. Delta has also benefitted from many things that were left behind by the former Ghana Air –ways Airlines in Accra Airport which they allow their costumers to use freely. These items in Kotoka International Airport which these Delta Airlines use free for their customers are not free at the JKF Airport. They are all profitable items, which we pay for whenever we arrive here at this Airport. This Delta Airline should level the equal employment opportunity they have within their contract for their employees in America and Europe for their Ghanaian staff as well. They should stop treating their employees in Africa as fourth class citizens. Delta Airlines have a collective bargining agreement with their union staff employees around the world that stipulates their employees can travel with a body pass on which the employees only pay taxes on . They can also purchase the same ticket for their immediate family members as well as their friends if only when they go to the airport the flight is not full. Some staff from this Delta agency are very disrespectful to these passengers. They threat them as criminals. In summer time these aforementioned individuals who travel with these body passes always become stranded in Accra. Delta agency employees refuse to pick them up even if the flight is not full. They preferred to leave these first time visitors in Ghana who travel with this body pass behind and pick up cargo instead. This is totally nonsense. Delta airlines should honor their bargining agreement which they have signed with their union. These people don’t have any relatives in Ghana, Accra. They end up sleeping on the floors at the airports as beggars.

From Nana Kofi Amankwah (New York)