Telecom Union, employers invite NLC over negotiation deadlock

Mtn Tigo Telecommunication companies

Mon, 5 Sep 2022 Source: GNA

The Telecommunication and Information Technology (IT) Professionals Union (TIP) and their employers have called on the National Labour Commission (NLC) to find an amicable solution to the deadlock over their collective agreement negotiation.

This comes after the parties failed to reach an agreement over their second collective agreement, which has been in negotiation since April this year.

Huawei Technologies Limited, subcontractors (SBCs) of the four employers – Linfra Ghana Limited, Reime Ghana Ltd, MPI Ghana, and Reliance Personnel Services Ltd, have contracted the workers to manage the technical operations of MTN Ghana, Vodafone, and AirtelTigo.

In a letter to the NLC dated September 2, they said: “We write to inform the National Labour Commission (NLC) that after extensive negotiation of our second collective agreement, which began from April 2022 to August 15, 2022, we are still unable to reach an agreement.”

It added that: “We are, therefore, by this letter seeking to waive our right under Section 15 and seek the assistance of the NLC under Section 164 of the Labour Act 2003, Act 651 to help resolve the issue.”

Mrs. Sika Abla Addo, External Counsel, Linfra Ghana, told the Ghana News Agency that though the parties had agreed on the majority of the issues, they had a deadlock on four other matters on the collective agreement.

The outstanding issues involving the workers – most of whom had a maximum of one-year fixed contract – include salary increment, extra site allowance, golden handshake, and who the principal and immediate employers were.

Mrs. Addo explained that because the collective agreement was relatively new, management and workers were confronted with “a little fiction here and there,” which she was confident the NLC would resolve by the end of September.

She said because the workers were essential service providers whose strike action could also have security and dire consequences on telecom operations, the employers were willing to ensure that the intended strike was called off.

The External Counsel said: “I’m not sure that Monday’s strike is going to come on because there’s some cordiality between both the management and the Union on that front.”

Mr. Israel Edem Agbedor, General Secretary, TIP, told GNA the parties reached an agreement on one of their three “non-negotiable” issues, which led to the calling on the NLC to intervene in the deadlock.

He said: “Our members are very angry; they’re tired of the talk and inaction by various institutions who are supposed to protect our rights. Therefore, the strike action is still active.”

“As of now, we’ve not yet taken a decision. After signing a joint letter with Management, the brief meeting we had as National Executive was inconclusive. So, we’ll continue with that meeting and engage membership for them to decide.” Mr. Agbedor said.

The telecom workers, who threatened to go on strike, did the same in March 2021, over a deadlock in salary negotiations between the Union and the management of the four subcontractors.

Source: GNA
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