Support more companies to stay afloat - ICU to President

BY: Charles Andoh
Mr. Morgan Ayawine (middle) speaking at the press conference. He is flanked by Mr. Emmanuel Baah Benimah (right) and Mr. Samuel Ananga
Mr. Morgan Ayawine (middle) speaking at the press conference. He is flanked by Mr. Emmanuel Baah Benimah (right) and Mr. Samuel Ananga

The Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) has welcomed the President’s decision to recapitalise the Neoplan Ghana Limited to make the company more viable.

Meanwhile, it has called on the government to extend similar support to other companies including the Produce Buying Company (PBC), the National Investment Bank, the Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO), the Volta Star Textiles and the Akosombo Industrial Company.

Last week, during his four-day tour of the Ashanti Region, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo visited the Neoplan Ghana Limited in Kumasi where he promised to retool the company through the injection of capital and equipment as part of the One-district, One-factory (1D1F) initiative.

‘Stay on course’

Addressing journalists at the ICU’s regular media engagement in Accra last Wednesday, the General Secretary of the ICU, Mr Morgan Ayawine, urged the government to stay on course and speed up processes for assisting more companies to stay afloat.

His call followed appeals the union had made to the President to revamp the Neoplan Ghana Limited in 2018 to make it more viable.

Mr Ayawine was flanked by his two deputies in charge of Operations and Administration, Mr Emmanuel Baah Benimah and Mr Samuel Ananga, respectively.

Giving the background of the Neoplan Ghana Limited, the general secretary said the company was established in 1974 through a partnership between Ghana and Germany and employed more than 800 workers and produced about 12 buses every month.

“But, today, the situation is so bad that the workers go to work without jobs. As it stands now, both the Accra and the Kumasi offices of Neoplan have staff strength of 50, bringing the number down drastically.

“We think the recapitalisation will help the government stay on course with its commitment and decision to address the unemployment situation in the country,” he said.

Redundancy

Mr Ayawine added that currently, the NIB, the PBC and other companies wanted to cut down on their staff strength, noting that it was not the best way to go as a nation.

“It is better to help than to take a decision to cut down staff, which goes to add up to the numbers of unemployment in the country. It is not the best way to address the unemployment situation and at the same time run with full speed to carry out redundancy.

“We once again want to appeal to the President not to superintend over unemployment during his tenure. We believe that when a lot of people are employed, it leads to development,” he emphasised.

COVID-19 impact

Even though he noted that the COVID-19 had impacted the operations of many companies, thereby compelling them to shut down, he said a lot of the companies were already struggling before the onset of the pandemic.

He assured the President and the government of workers’ commitment to work hard to enhance the development of the country.