General News Fri, 19 Dec 2003

ICU demo could not come on.

Tema, Dec. 19, GNA - The planned demonstration by the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) against the dismissal of workers of the Ghana Agro Food Company (GAFCO) could not come on, even though more than 100 of them gathered at the Tema Community Centre on Friday morning to start it.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Mrs Agnes Sikanartey, Tema Regional Commander of Police, told the Ghana News Agency that the Leadership of ICU could not secure a permit for the intended demonstration, because they did not apply for it on time.

She said Police told the Leadership that they did not have enough men to guarantee their safety if they demonstrated, since they did not give us sufficient notice.

A TUC source told GNA that when ICU Leadership realised that they could not go on the demonstration in Tema, the workers who wore red bands, therefore, boarded buses with the intention to do the demonstration in Accra, under the pretext that they wanted to present a petition to the Minister of Manpower Development and Employment.

However, they were held up at the Tetteh Quarshie Roundabout in Accra by the Police and were made to return to Tema.

They assembled at Tema Industrial Recreational Area (TIRA), the normal meeting place of TUC, to plan another strategy. Armed Policemen were deployed at strategic positions around the Tema Harbour.

Mr E.G. Degbor, Public Affairs Manager of GAFCO, told GNA that 250 workers, who have reapplied to work, were made to go to the factory to work.

However, 50 others who have not reapplied but wanted to go to work were refused and advised that they should reapply and fix their photograph on the letter.

He explained that the Management had softened its stand on the dismissal of all the workers following the assault of Mr Frank Ocran, Personnel Manager on December 1 and the destruction of some office property.

Those who agree to reapply would be allowed to work without losing any benefits, he said.

Source: GNA