Godwill Ntarmah, General Secretary of the Ghana Railway Workers Union
Godwill Ntarmah, General Secretary of the Ghana Railway Workers Union

Save Railway Company from collapse - Railway workers appeal to President

The Ghana Railway Workers Union has appealed to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to save the company from collapse as it has now become a highly indebted poor company (HIPC).

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The workers said with its staff strength coupled with the serious operational challenges, it needed urgent attention.

At a press conference in Takoradi last Tuesday, the General Secretary of the Ghana Railway Workers Union, Godwill Ntarmah, said Ghana Railway Company Limited (GRCL), a state-owned company with a staff strength of over 1,000, was facing serious challenges operating on the existing narrow gauge rail line which was in a very bad state, coupled with the old and aged rolling stock, resulting in frequent derailments.

“The above challenges have resulted in serious financial constraints which easily qualify the company as a Highly Indebted Poor Company (HIPC),” he stated.

Audience

Mr Ntarmah said attempts to meet President Akufo-Addo over the difficulties of the company, including the running of the company as a Limited Liability Company without shareholders, had been unsuccessful, and therefore, requested an immediate audience with the President.

“It is the expectation of workers that since the company is state-owned, some government support from the state would have been extended to the company as it was the practice in the past.

“However, all that we hear is that the company is a limited liability company, and therefore, it should be able to work and generate enough to fund itself.

We disagree with this assertion,” he stated.

He stressed that the truth of the matter was that with the challenges enumerated, it was impossible for the company to generate enough funds to sustain itself hence the frantic efforts made by the leadership of the Union to have an engagement with the President.

“We have no option now but to meet the press and use your medium to appeal to His Excellency, the President of the Republic, for an engagement with us to save the GRCL from total collapse,” the Railway Workers Union scribe appealed.

Unpaid remuneration

Also at the press conference, the workers union demanded payment of their three-month salary arrears worth GH¢6 million, as well as over a year’s unpaid SSNIT and Tier Two contributions.

They said life had become very difficult for railway workers due to operational challenges that had rendered the company highly indebted.

Mr Ntarmah stressed that Railway workers were frustrated and disillusioned over the unpaid GH¢6 million salary arrears and warned of a possible action, if their arrears were not paid by tomorrow.

 “As we speak, salaries go into three- or four-months’ arrears before some efforts are made to affect some payments.

Again, SSNIT payments are in arrears from October 2022 to date, which has compelled SSNIT to take GRCL to court to enforce payments.

. The company is owing GCB Bank millions of cedis, while workers’ Tier 2 payments have also not been settled since May 2022 to date,” the General Secretary of the workers union said.

He indicated that the workers had a meeting with the Chief Director of the Ministry of Railways on August 21, and he told them that some efforts had been made to settle the arrears.

Also, he mentioned that workers’ own deductions meant for their various credit unions, such as GPHA Credit Union and RUCOMAS, had not been paid since September 2021, as well as the determination of the fate of the GRCL staff retrenched in 2006.

He added that these were of grave concern which needed to be addressed by the government urgently. 

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