GSB Workers At Warpath With CEO

Sun, 1 Jul 2007 Source: Ghanaian Chronicle

THE STAFF of the Ghana Standards Board (GSB) have staged a three-hour demonstration accusing the Chief Executive Officer of the Board of various administrative malpractices.

The unionized staff of the Board has therefore resolved to raise high, the "RED "flag as an indication of their displeasure with the management's disrespect of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the Labour Act.

They also alleged that the General Secretary of the Public Service Workers Union (PSWU), has betrayed the local union by accepting to deal directly with management without recourse to the local union while Management has also devised tactics of corresponding directly with his office.

They have therefore declared the PSWU General Secretary, persona non grata and he would no more be welcomed on the premises of the Board.

The union has also alleged that the CEO, Mr. Adu Darkwa's two years in office had been characterised with gross disrespect to the staff and the fanning of favouritism.

They alleged that the CEO had refused to occupy his official residence, which has been renovated for months now, and another unoccupied one.

According to the union, the CEO rather preferred staying in his own residence which the Board has hired for him at a rent of three million cedis per month which is another way of causing financial loss to the State.

The union therefore challenged the CEO to give reasons why he had refused to occupy the official residence.

According to the union, the intended restructuring exercise of the Board, which had led to some of its members being rendered redundant, has not been handled properly by management.

The CEO has also been accused by the union of contracting Agate Transport Company which they claimed is his family business and that currently, 10 of its drivers are on the premises of the Board where most of them are not assigned to any official vehicle but only come and sleep while some are on stand-by.

They said because of bad policy implementation and favouritism, the general morale towards work at the Board has gone down.

The union confirmed that the Board on 5th November 2006 issued a letter to the union about its plans to restructure its operations to enable it improve upon efficiency and deliver the policy prescription of the Trade Sector Support Programme (TSSP). The Board also pointed out that the departments that would be affected were the Transport, Maintenance, Canteen, and Security. The Union said their displeasure is about the way the situation was being handled by management upon all the good faith it has demonstrated towards the exercise.

They alleged that because of management disrespect for the Labour laws, the Board could call on any staff to work outside the normal working hours without any overtime allowance.

The union has therefore appealed to Parliament to help save the Board from collapsing under the present CEO.

When contacted over the allegations being made by the union against him, Mr. Darkwa said management and the union have been talking about the issue of redundancy since January 2007.

"So if the union has any issue, the only way to do it is through dialogue but wearing of red bands would not change anything", he observed.

The CEO denied ever knowing the owner of Agate Transport. 'I don't have a brother or any of my family members who runs a transport business, not even a friend, so it is not true that the owner is my family member," he stressed.

Reacting to the allegation of his refusal to occupy the official residence, the CEO said according to the State Engineer, the Board has to spend ยข1 billion on the renovation works on the building before it could be occupied by any official but " 'I see that as waste of funds since such an amount could be used to complete the office project that was being carried out by the Board at the time I assumed office", he said.

'Staying there would be more economical and prudent for me because if I want to rent my own house to any individual, it can fetch me a lot of income than what the Board is paying now, and I did not force the Board to hire my place for me but they thought it right to do so" he emphasized.

About the demonstration, the CEO said, "their reason was contrary to what they forwarded to my office" he said.

The CEO said the Board really needed the services of the 10 drivers that were alleged to have not been assigned to any official vehicle, intimating that "how can I bring a driver if I don't need one? We needed them, that is why they were employed by management.'

"I want to advise the union to respect higher authority so that their views can also be respected because as a country we have to move forward", he added.

Source: Ghanaian Chronicle