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15 workers sacked for joining union

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

Fifteen employees of an oil service provider in Takoradi, who opted to form a local union to negotiate for better working conditions have been dismissed by the company.

Their employer, MobiCrane, an organisation that provides crane and other heavy equipment services to the oil and gas sector had allegedly warned the workers against forming the union and when they disobeyed, they were fired.

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The employees have since reported the matter to the Western Regional Labour Office and the Ghana Transport, Petroleum and Chemical Workers Union (GTPCWU) of the Trades Union Congress (TUC).

According to the workers, many of them were trained crane and other heavy-duty equipment operators who had worked for more than four years.

They said all those sacked were executives who had been elected by the workers to lead them in the formation of the local union under the GTPCWU.

They claimed they had been holding meetings with their colleague workers about their conditions of service and labour related issues.

They explained they realized a decrease in their salaries without any explanation from management.

And that for instance in year 2011, some of them received a basic salary of GHc250 but in 2012, it reduced to GHc200. Beside that their night allowance also started recording a reduction.

The workers said they contacted the executives of the GTPCWU about their problem and decided to form a local union so the GTPCWU members contacted their employer.

The workers alleged that after the executives of GTPCWU had contacted their management, they were threatened with dismissal if they went ahead to join the union.

The Industrial Relations Manager of GTPCWU, Mr Francis Sallah, told Graphic Online that MobiCrane had no right to hire and fire the workers at will and that there were laws that needed to be respected.

He said from their preliminary investigation, many of the workers had worked with the company between one and five years adding that “after sacking them, they were paid only one month salary as end of service benefit.”

“To be honest with you, when we looked at the salary structure of the workers, they were being paid as low as GHc100 and highest pay is GHc250,” he added.

 “It is very important to note that, all those sacked were elected executives of their local union, this is not the best and cannot happen in the country where we have rule of law,” Mr Sallah noted.

He said the union would follow the legal process to ensure that the rights of the workers were protected.

He said the workers had the right to join any labour union of their choice and that unions were not established to intimidate employers but rather to ensure harmony.

Story by Moses Dotsey Aklorbortu