GPHA 20% container deal: Govt must develop agreement to ease operation – MDU

GPHA22 File photo

Mon, 22 Jun 2020 Source: Abena Pomaa, Contributor

The workers of Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority ( GPHA) led by the Maritime and Dockworkers Union( MDU) has waged a relentless struggle against the agreement relating to the operations of Terminal 3 of Meridian Port Services ( MPS) which allowed MPS to handle almost all container cargo calling at the Tema Port.

The agreement was signed in June 2015 under former President John Mahama. Mr Daniel Owusu-Koranteng, the General Secretary of MDU has described the MPS Terminal 3 agreement as a bad agreement which is not in the interest of Ghana.

The Inter-Ministerial Committee set by the NPP government to review the agreement confirmed that the MPS agreement is not in the interest of Ghana and GPHA. The Secretary-General of the Trades Union Congress spoke against the MPS agreement as not being in the interest of Ghana.

In 2019, the MDU led the workers of GPHA in a campaign against the agreement on the strong argument of huge revenue losses and the possible loss of jobs for over 1,400 of GPHA according to estimates of GPHA management.

The campaign against the MPS Terminal 3 agreement featured in the 2019 May Day celebration and President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo promised to involve the MDU in the negotiations for the review of the agreement.

The MDU and GPHA workers have complained about the takeover of the Reefer Container business of GPHA on the instructions of Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) though the Reefer container business is not part of the MPS agreement.

The MDU, the unions of GPHA and the workers of GPHA took an action on 16th of June 2020 to prevent vessels from coming to the Tema Port as part of the demand for immediate implementation of the decision taken by the shareholders of MPS to grant GPHA the right to handle 20% container business.

Based on the instructions of the President, GRA has issued a letter to reverse the decision to allow MPS to handle the Reefer Container business to ensure the return to the system when GPHA handled the Reefer Container business.

The GRA letter which had reversed the handling of Reefer Container business back to GPHA convinced the MDU and the workers to suspend the strike action.

In an interview with Mr Daniel Owusu-Koranteng, the General Secretary of the Maritime and Dockworkers Union, he commended H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for intervening to ensure that GPHA regained the Reefer Container business.

“We commend H. E. the President of the Republic of Ghana for his interest in our struggles and the instructions which had compelled GRA to reverse the decision which allowed MPS to take over the Reefer container. Though we are happy about the initial success, we regard it as unfinished business and respectfully request H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to ensure the immediate development of an agreement to facilitate the legal implementation of the decision for GPHA to handle 20% of container vessels that call at the port. We need the President’s support in this regard,’’ he said.

Source: Abena Pomaa, Contributor