Business News of 2014-01-04

Loading boys protest against poor wages

About 1,450 trucks loaded with cocoa beans are stuck at the terminal of the Cocoa Marketing Company (CMC) at Apowa, Takoradi in the Western Region.

This is as a result of the refusal of loading boys at the terminal to unload the cocoa into the CMC’s Commodity Village Warehouse over poor wages and working conditions.

Each truck is said to be carrying at least 600 bags of cocoa beans

Apart from the increasing cost to the truck owners, the delay is also believed to be affecting the quality and weight of the beans as the state in which the cocoa beans were loaded into the trucks were not the best.

The Head of Public Affairs of COCOBOD, Mr Noah Amenyah, confirmed the problem in an interview and indicated that COCOBOD was doing everything possible to resolve the situation.

He explained that besides Apowa, a similar problem existed in Tema in the Greater Accra Region.

The congestion, he said, should be partly blamed on the carriers who left for the Christmas holidays and were yet to report for work.

Some of the loading boys, who refused to give their names, told the Daily Graphic,“We will not carry the cocoa bags until they give us good wages.”

When the Daily Graphic visited the terminal, the drivers said there were as many as 1,450 trucks waiting to discharge their load.

Master Kwaku Atta, a driver, said he arrived from the Enchi areas about a month-and-half ago but the truck was yet to be attended to.

“I am carrying 600 bags of cocoa, and I cannot do anything now because I cannot take the truck anywhere unless the beans are unloaded. But here we are, the boys have refused to attend to the trucks,” he complained.

A visibly troubled truck owner, Mr Baba K. Awudu Issah, said in spite of the delay, the truck owners were not paid for the period the trucks were kept inactive.