Uneasy calm at Customs Division of GRA

Tue, 6 Sep 2016 Source: GNA

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Information reaching the Ghana News Agency indicates that there is an uneasy calm at the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).

This follows the refusal of Management to comply with a Supreme Court judgment in February 2009 that the Officers of the Division cannot unionize.

The Supreme Court again in November 2015 ruled that the workers cannot unionize after a staff had petitioned the highest court for an interpretation of the earlier ruling in 2009.

The leadership of the Senior Staff and the Junior Staff Association have made a number of requests to the GRA Management to stop deducting Trade Union Dues from the salaries of the pesonnel, but Management had been adamant to their request.

Coming under pressure from the rank and file, the leadership of the Labour groups in the Customs Division (Staff Associations, Public Services Workers Union (PSWU) and the Ghana Revenue Authority Workers Union) petitioned the Office of the Employment and Labour Relations Minister requesting his intervention.

After a crucial meeting Management initiated action to resolve the impasse. A source told the GNA that a Memorandum written by the Deputy Commissioner of Finance on August 11, 2016, instructing the Head of GRA Pay Roll to stop deductions of Trade Union Dues from the salaries of the Officers of Customs Division with effect from August, this year, suggests that there was an attempt to stop the deductions.

However, in a sudden twist, a new memo from management was forwarded to the Head of Pay Roll to disregard the earlier directive.

This angered Officers of the Customs Division, who have vowed to leave no stone unturned at ensuring that the GRA Management complies with the Supreme Court ruling.

Speaking under the condition of animosity, a GRA staff, who is not a Customs Officer, told the GNA that the leadership of Customs had back tracked on their earlier instructions to stop the deductions after intense pressure from the leadership of the PSWU of the Domestic Tax Revenue Division and the leadership of their mother union.

The investigations further revealed that most Management staff are not happy about the posture of the GRA PSWU leadership.

A retired Customs Officer, who was processing his retirement claims expressed worry that without consenting to any union membership, the PSWU Trade Union Dues was deducted from his monthly salary from April 2011 till his exit this year.

He was emphatic that he and some of his retired colleagues will join forces with the labour groups in Customs Division to cite GRA Management for contempt.

The source hinted that the Customs Officers may decide to be quite under the circumstance and adopt various tactics that might affect productivity.

They were of the view that the Ministry, should as a matter of urgency, have audience with the labour groups in Customs Division to settle the issue before it is too late.

Source: GNA