TUC fights Trade Fair Company over ‘illegal’ mass layoffs

TUC Secre   Lockdown TUC Secretary General, Dr. Yaw Baah

Wed, 27 May 2020 Source: starrfm.com.gh

Leadership of the Public Services Workers’ Union, (PSWU) of the Trades Union Congress, (TUC) has locked horns with CEO for the Ghana Trade Fair Company, GTFC Dr Agnes Adu over what the Union terms “unconventional mass termination of appointments of some 23 staff of the Company.

The workers have been laid off “terminated” supposedly as a result of the Ghana Trade Fair Company redevelopment project. In a termination letter in possession of Starr News, the affected will be paid only one month salary in lieu of notice.

“This letter is to inform you that your employment with GTFC LTD as …… Department will come to an end as of 31st May, 2020. The company would pay you your salary for the month of April 2020 and pay you one (1) month’s salary in lieu of notice,” The letter signed by CEO for the company Dr. Agnes Adu said.

In a letter to management of the Ghana Trade Fair Company, General Secretary of the Public Services Workers’ Union Bernard Adjei accused the company of sidelining the Union in the exercise which he argues is nothing but redundancy exercise.

“Unfortunately, management has not officially informed the PSWU of any challenge that may warrant such an action, neither has management consulted or called for any Standing Negotiating Committee meeting to address the issues concerning termination as per existing Collective Bargaining Agreement and the labour Act, 2003 (Act 651). We believe management has undertaken a redundancy exercise without going through the necessary processes and failed to pay workers the required benefits.” The letter said.

The Union in the letter demanded a meeting with management of the GTFC which is yet to be granted by the management.

The Public Services Workers’ Union, (PSWU) in another letter to the TUC described as shocking, the mass layoff at the Trade Fair Company. In the letter addressed to the Secretary-General of TUC Dr. Yaw Baah, General Secretary for the PSWU – Bernard Adjei stated that the action by management of the trade Fair Company (wholely owned state company) could embolden private employers to arbitrarily also layoff workers in this COVID–19 crisis.

“We are clear in our minds that the action taken by management is due to the redevelopment of the Trade Fair, which amounts to redundancy. Our prevailing Collective Bargaining Agreement has adequate provisions covering redundancy as per the Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651). However, it is obvious that management is trying to avoid the full implication of redundancy.”

“If the state does not handle the matter well, it may suggest to private employers that they can equally terminate employees especially during this pandemic.” The letter added.

The TUC has consequently petitioned the Minister for Trade and Industry and the Employment and Labour Relations Minister to intervene in the matter. The Minister for employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Barfour Awuah has demanded answers from management of the Trade Fair Company.

In response to the letter of the minister, CEO for the GTFC Dr. Agnes Adu defended the dismissal of the workers arguing it was based on clauses in their contracts.

Dr. Adu also denied the exercise is as a result of the Trade Fair Redevelopment Project which has resulted in a redundancy.

Employment and Labour Relations Minister Ignatius Barfour Awuah has since tasked the Chief labour Officer of the Labour Department to prepare a report on the matter to guide his next line of action.

The PSWU (made up of over 60 public sector Institutions) has hinted of series of massive protests to draw government’s attention to the insensitive activities of the Board and Management of the Company in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Source: starrfm.com.gh
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