The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has expressed displeasure over the conduct of the leadership and some members of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) during this year’s May Day parade.
At the parade in Accra, some workers suspected to be members of ICU carried placards with inscriptions including “Dr Baah, the worst Secretary-General in the history of GTUC”, “Dr Baah, trade unions are suffering under your leadership”, among others, to share their concerns over the leadership of the TUC.
Addressing a press conference in Accra yesterday, Dr Yaw Baah, Secretary General, TUC, called on the ICU to immediately apologise to the distinguished guests who were present at the parade including President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his Vice, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.
He apologised to all the special guests over the incident adding that the TUC was prepared to continue the dialogue with the leadership of ICU to resolve all issues amicably in the spirit of unity and solidarity.
Explaining what may have resulted in the actions of the ICU, he said, since its disaffiliation from the TUC following some disagreements, the ICU has refused to vacate its offices in the TUC Head Office Building.
According to Dr Baah, the ICU argues that the building was donated by the then Convention People’s Party (CPP) government to all workers of the country.
Fact available to the TUC, he said, was contradictory to the position held by ICU on the matter.
“The fact is the TUC leadership borrowed money from government to finance the construction of its head office building. The TUC then partnered with a construction company which built part of the building. Upon completion of the building in 1960, the CPP government converted the loan into a grant. This was in recognition of TUC’s contribution to the social, economic and political development of the country, especially its role in attainment of independence in 1957. The TUC only allocated some offices in the building to its affiliates including the ICU,” he stated.
A case to establish the true ownership of the building is currently pending in court, the Secretary General added.
Following the decision by the TUC to renovate the building at a cost of G¢H9.4 million in 2018, he said, the ICU was not requested to contribute because it was not a member of TUC and was expected to temporarily relocate to allow the works to go on smoothly.
When the ICU defaulted, the TUC, with the support of the Police gained access into the offices of ICU in the building to make way for the project after a High Court in Accra dismissed an application by ICU to restrain the TUC from occupying its offices, Dr Baah stated.
He said the delays in the take off of the project due to the disagreement with ICU cost the TUC in excess of GH¢100,000 additional contract fee adding that “the TUC did no wrong in pursuing renovation of the building and restoring the dignity of TUC.”
General Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), David Ofori Acheampong, described the incident as unfortunate, stating that such conduct could impact negatively on all-important concerns of Ghanaian workers which was tabled before the government for redress.
“As organised labour, we all need one voice in putting out our concerns. Such conduct will not help in our fight to get the best of welfare treatment for Ghanaian workers,” he added.
When contacted, Solomon Kotei, General Secretary of ICU, said the union was unable to make comments on TUC’s claims because the matter was currently in court.