ATL struggles to keep workers, pay salaries

BY: Timothy Ngnenbe
General Secretary of the Textiles, Garment and Leather Employees Union (TGLEU), Mr Abraham Koomson
General Secretary of the Textiles, Garment and Leather Employees Union (TGLEU), Mr Abraham Koomson

The fate of some 800 workers of Akosombo Textiles Limited (ATL) hangs in the balance because the company is struggling to keep all of them in employment due to daunting challenges in the textile industry.

Currently, the workers are at home because the company has adopted a production strategy to only recall them to work at specific times as a measure to cut cost to save it from total collapse.

The plight of employees of the textile outfit is even dire because they have not received their monthly salaries since July this year.

Some of the workers who spoke to the Daily Graphic said although they had not been officially laid off, there were clear signals that all was not well with the company.

However, the Finance and Administration Manager of the ATL, Mr Justice Asiedu Boateng, debunked rumours that the company had laid off some of its workers.


According to him, the workers were at home because the company had adopted a production plan to only call them to work when there was production as a measure to cut cost.

Workers’ ordeal

The Secretary of the ATL Local Union, Mr Victor Kumah, told the Daily Graphic that apart from the core administrative and management staff, there was the fear that the other workers could lose their jobs.

"We have not received any official communication to the effect that any worker has been laid off. What is happening is that we were told that there were no materials for us to work with and so we should go home. We were, however, recalled to work but asked to go back last two weeks because the materials were finished.

"Our fear now is that we may eventually be laid off because nothing is working. Our salaries have not been paid for the last two months. Meanwhile, schools have reopened and we have to pay fees," he said.

Dire situation

Meanwhile, the General Secretary of the Textiles, Garment and Leather Employees Union (TGLEU), Mr Abraham Koomson, said “happenings at ATL are more than meet the eye”.

He explained that following the myriad of challenges that had bedevilled the textile industry over the years, ATL had to close down some of its departments, leading to excess labour at other departments.

"They have excess labour because some workers have been transferred from the spinning and weaving departments that are inactive due to the deteriorating state of the company to the printing department. The workers are all piled up there and now run three shifts,” he said.

He disclosed that ATL had received a GH¢17-million stimulus package from the government to revamp its production capacity but added that the challenges in the company required special attention.

"The prudent thing to do is make arrangements and pay some of the workers off because it is clear that the company is not getting out of the woods. We are hearing that an investor is being sought for the company, but no investor would ever want to put money in a dying company," he said.

No lay offs

Speaking to the Daily Graphic on the issue, the Finance and Administration Manager of ATL, Mr Boateng, confirmed that ATL had received a stimulus package but declined to disclose the amount, adding: “We are collaborating with the government, through the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI), to revamp the company.”

Mr Asiedu also confirmed that the workers were owed two months’ salaries but said plans were advanced to pay the money in the coming weeks.