VALCO workers want salaries to be indexed in US dollar
Workers of the Volta Smelter Aluminium Company (VALCO) on Monday embarked on a protest over what they said were the failure of the company's management to index their wages to the United States dollar.
The workers also want two executive management members to be relieved of their posts since they have attained the compulsory retirement age, according to the workers.
They named the two management members as the Chief Executive Officer, Dan Acheampong and the Human Resource Director, Festus Quaidoo.
According to them, the two senior managers have reached their retirement age.
According to the workers, whereas the CEO retired nearly four years ago with the HR director also retiring last year, the two have continued to be in office.
The protest at the frontage of the company was nearly marred by violence when a military deployment arrived to prevent the workers from blocking the access that links the company to Aluworks, using a 40-footer container.
The move by the workers was also to prevent the two senior managers from entering the company.
Some soldiers who intervened to stop the workers from blocking the access road turned their anger on some media personnel who were reporting on the incident.
They ordered the journalists to suspend any video recording at the company since it was a private facility and the media had no right to be there.
The military detachment cocked their guns to scare the media and some of the workers who were at the scene.
That notwithstanding, the workers some of whom abandoned work at the production unit were seen dancing to music from speakers which were mounted at the frontage of the company.
Others were also seen in groups seated at the frontage and having conversations amidst laughter.
A police deployment team from the Tema Regional Command who were also at the company to ensure law and order pleaded with the protesting workers to remove the container barricade that they had used to block the access to Aluworks.
Local Union chairman
The Local Union Chairman, Edgar Tetteh who addressed the media said that VALCO is the pivot on which the government's integrated aluminium project is hinged on.
Regrettably, he said the workers had to embark on the protest to drum home the demands for better wage compensation, which he said has eluded them as a result of what he said were the carelessness on the part of management to the neglect of the plight of workers.
Mr Tetteh accused the management, particularly the two senior managers of lacking adequate knowledge about the company's business.
"There is no where in the world that smelter workers are paid below US$500, but our situation is not so."
The Union Chairman also claimed that they went to the negotiation table in 2021 and having an appreciation of the economic difficulties facing the country, they agreed with management to find a better way of compensation so that going forward, the wages of the workers could be protected.
He pointed out that every activity of the company is indexed in the US dollar to the extent that the procurement of stationery were all indexed in the United States dollar.
And therefore wondered why the management is failing to protect the wages of the worker.