Seven of fourteen executives of the local chapter of the Industrial Workers and Commercial Union at the Takoradi International Company (TICO) have been interdicted for three months over alleged illegal industrial conduct among other things on Wednesday, May 29 2019.
“… you have been interdicted with immediate effect pending investigations into your involvement in the event which occurred on 17th May to 24th May, 2019 in respect of the following: illegal industrial action, breach of collective agreement, breach of standing negotiating committee rules and unfair labour practice”, an interdicted letter signed by Ernest Kofi Osafo General Manager of TICO/TAQA read in part.
A union member who explained the series of occurrence on condition of anonymity said on the 19th of September 2018 at about 13:59hrs, upon advising management about a 205 bar hydraulic oil leakage on the Heat Recovery Steam Generator (HRSG) 32 bypass stop valve, and the need to shut down and repair the leaks, management put deaf ear to this advice all in the name of achieving high availability and kept the unit running till there was a fire outbreak which engulfed the entire area of the valve, a situation he said contributed to the recent power outages.
The workers then resolved to get their Managing Director, Ernest Kofi Osafo and the Plant Manager Nellissery Krishman reassigned, wore a red armband to work on Friday, May 17th 2019 without disrupting work but that decision did not go down well with Management hence the interdiction of the seven union members of the company.
Another allegation by the workers is that mechanical challenges forced operators of one of the thermal plants within the Aboadze power enclave in the Western Region to cut down on electricity generation.
According to them, the 330-megawatt capacity plant has since November 2018 been generating only 150 megawatts of electricity on an average due to what they claim to be managerial indiscretion.
On November 3, 2018, the workers say the STG MSCV also failed. This rendered the STG Unit unavailable for over three months because spare parts were said to be unavailable on site.
According to the workers, the technical team alerted management ahead of time, but nothing was done about it.
“Due to this 311,040mwhrs was lost in the 108 days the STG MSCV failed. But we could have fixed the problem in just six days if the necessary spare parts were available”
An accessory gear failure on the GT31 unit on December 20, 2018, resulted in a forced outage for over four months, something they attributed to a bad managerial decision.
“The original manufacturer of the GT31 unit, which is Flender, was billed for repair works. Unfortunately, management kept postponing the schedule and this resulted in a failure of the generator bearings of the GT31”.
Deputy Plant Manager Joseph Ackon said the plant is currently operating at 50 per cent of its capacity because of maintenance works being carried out.
Meanwhile, when contacted to comment on the matter, Mr Osafo said “TAQA has received various allegations and all have been noted,” and said that they take “the issues seriously and will work with all its stakeholders to investigate”
The investigation, he said, will be to find out what has gone on and ensure a resolution to the matter.
On the interdiction, he said, stated the seven executives were interdicted because they “violated rules of engagement”.
He declined to comment on why he has failed to recuse himself since he is a party to the matter.
But the workers, who are not convinced by the explanations, have threatened to stage a walkout if the 7 union executives are not recalled.