Demand by the Energy Minister to agitated staff of Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), to resign before a severance package is paid to them is being treated with disdain, since the minister himself appears “not serious”. The staff who have been fighting against privatisation of management of the state-owned company, had first requested for a severance package. They based their demand on Section 65 subsection 2 of the Labour Act 2003, Act 561.
But addressing the media this week, the sector minister Mr Boakye Agyarko clearly said: “If you decide to leave ECG, then you will be paid the severance but you should not have the expectation or guarantee that the new company will take you on. You have made a decision to sever your relationship with the ECG and it should not put you in a faithful expectation that going forward you have a job with the new company.
“So it is open. All the ECG workers who want to leave and not join the new company are at liberty to do so and their severance so arranged, but it is not going to be a collective bargaining situation where all the 6,500 workers of ECG are paid severance and then transferred to new company.”
But Michael Adumatta Nyantakyi, General Secretary of Public Utilities Workers Union told Winston Amoah on TV3’s Hot Issues aired on Saturday that the minister made the utterance in passing. When the host put it to him that the minister meant what he said, he shot back in disagreement. “I wonder if the minister was really serious about that statement,” he stressed.
“The moment you resign from an organisation, on what locus are you asking for severance package?” Mr. Nyantakyi downplayed the minister’s demand. He slighted the argument, and was not interested in going into that subject of severance package as proposed by the minister.
The takeover of ECG has come about as a result of the Millennium Challenge Power Compact agreement program, signed between the government of Ghana and the government of the US. As part of the agreement, Ghana will receive a US$469,300,000.