The timely intervention of top officials of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) averted a strike by workers of the Volta Star Textile Company at Juapong last Thursday.
The workers withdrew their services during the morning shift and idled on the premises of the company until the ICU officials from Tema, who, on hearing of the strike, visited the company and appealed to the workers to resume work for the afternoon shift after they had held a closed-door meeting with the management and staff.
In April 2016, the company was closed down partly because of its inability to pay nine months’ salary arrears of GH¢3.6 million. The company resumed operations after the Export Development and Agricultural Investment Fund (EDAIF) had offered a grant to bail it out.
Addressing the workers after the meeting, a Deputy General Secretary (Operations) of the ICU, Mr Morgan Ayawine explained that a proposal was submitted to management by the workers for negotiation on a wage opener on April 6.
However, the management fixed June 22 as the date for the wage opener and this was not acceptable to the workers.
He said industrial relations procedures had been ignored by the management although the company was confronted with a litany of problems such as the payment of outstanding salaries for three months, default in the payment of deductions of Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) contributions, provident fund and union dues.
SSNIT, provident fund deductions
Mr Ayawine said the company had not been able to pay GH¢400,000, being provident fund deductions for the staff from June 2012 to date and GH¢ 800,000 SSNIT deductions from December 2014 to date.
Mr Ayawine said the meeting between the management and the local union agreed that one month outstanding salary arrears would be paid to workers before the Easter break and the other grievances of workers would be settled at a later date when negotiations re-opened.
He appealed to the management to sort out the social security and provident fund issues immediately since they were affecting the morale of the workers and by extension, the operations of the company.
Mr Ayawine called for a cordial relationship between the local union and workers because he said that was needed to increase productivity.