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Uneasy calm as Mövenpick staff return to post after strike

BY: graphic.com.gh
Uneasy calm as Mövenpick staff return to post after strike
Uneasy calm as Mövenpick staff return to post after strike

The staff of the Mövenpick Ambassador Hotel in Accra returned to their duty posts four hours after embarking on industrial action in protest against what they said was racial discrimination by the management of the hotel.

Some services at the five-star hotel grounded to a halt after the staff, numbering about 100 laid down their tools and converged at the reception of the hotel amidst drumming and singing of war songs shortly after 11.00am Wednesday.

Clad in strips of red cloth, they also carried placards with inscriptions including; "Nadja must go", "Ghana is our motherland", "GM must go" and "Equal rights".

Guests at the hotel who were abandoned with no staff to assist them joined the media to witness the demonstration. 

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It was the second demonstration by the workers in six days after a similar action last Friday.

After a standoff over demands by management that the workers allow pressmen to be ejected from the hotel before addressing them, the General Manager of the hotel, Michael Rathgeb addressed the workers behind the hotel.

They returned to their posts shortly after 4 pm after receiving assurances from Mr Rathgeb that their grievances which include the failure of management to implement the "no stealing" policy of the company on an expatriate worker would be addressed in 24 hours (1 pm on Thursday, April 18, 2019).

Initially, Mr Rathgeb said he would seek legal advice before deciding whether to implement the decision but the workers led by executives of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) declined and insisted that the findings be implemented as it had in the past when Ghanaian workers were found to have stolen from the company.

Grievances

According to Charles Akomea Williams, the Union Chairman of the Mövenpick Workers Union, the strike was in protest at the failure of Mr Rathgeb to dismiss an expatriate worker for allegedly stealing eight bars of what was said to be gold from the room of a hotel guest.

He said an internal committee was set-up by the company to probe the matter and the body produced a report which recommended that she should be dismissed, however, management has failed to implement the recommendations.

Mr Williams claimed that in the past Ghanaian staff were dismissed over the theft of petty items such as pens, apples and tea bags.

He said: "The strike started around 11.30 and it has taken around five hours. We don't agree that management will receive legal advice, it has not happened before and it will never happen. We don't accept that at all, he shouldn't bring that at all."

"We are expecting the termination and dismissal of the contract of [name withheld] and we are also expecting the General Manager himself to resign and leave.

"For now we are returning to work peacefully because we don't have any problems with anybody".

ICU

The Deputy General Secretary for Operations of the ICU, Mr Morgan Ayawine said he disagreed with the decision to seek legal advice on the matter because the issue happened a long while ago and it was time for the recommendations of the internal report to be implemented.

He said the ICU had sighted a copy of the report which recommended the dismissal.

"Yes, we have sighted a copy of the report and truly the report indicates that the committee members unanimously recommended termination of appointment but now management is trying to conceal that report because they said it is a confidential document".

He said the ICU was still considering its options in the event that the recommendations of the report were not implemented by 1 pm Thursday.

Other members of the ICU who mediated the impasse with Mr Ayawine included Emmanuel Benimah, the Secretary-General for Administration of the ICU and Madam Marku Vondee, the Chief Industrial Relations Officer of the ICU.

Read also: Mövenpick staff lay down tools over "racist treatment"