General News of Thu, 31 Mar 201618
Workers ambush Mahama
Some aggrieved workers of struggling Volta Star Textiles Limited recently staged a protest when President John Dramani Mahama visited the Volta region to inspect the Eastern Corridor road.
The workers held placards with inscriptions such as “Here is not Voters Region, But Volta region,” “When will Volta Star Textile Workers Be Paid, Mr. President,” and “Is Tongu not part of Ghana as you claim. Mr. President, why is it so,” among others.
They protested at a durbar held at Kpalime-Todome along the Eastern Corridor road in the South Dayi-District of the Volta Region by the chiefs and people of the Kpalime Traditional Area in honour of the President.
Interestingly, President Mahama took notice of the placards before his aides quickly moved in to appeal to the protestors to lower them.
They also wore T-shirts of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) with the president’s image embossed on them.
The President, in his address, advised workers of Volta Star Textiles to be reasonable in their demand for their 11-month salary arrears.
He said considering the number of workers affected, full payment of the arrears would destroy the company.
The Volta Star Textiles Limited took over from the Juapong Textiles Limited, which was established in 1968 to produce and supply greybaft for other Ghanaian industries.
The frequent changes in management have hampered the growth of the company.
In 2005, the Dutch giant, Briscoe which was then managing the company filed for liquidation, leading to the closure of the factory.
The previous Kufour administration in May 2007 reactivated the company and by 2008, it injected GHC 3 million into its operations.
The company directly employs over 1000 workers and many more indirectly, particularly those in the textile industry.
The company, after eight years, is on the brink of collapse due to its indebtedness, among others.
Apart from workers’ salary arrears, the company also owes electricity bills.
President Mahama explained that “I personally authorized the Export Development and Agriculture Investment Fund (EDAIF) to give the factory GHC6.1 million to recapitalize it to be able to start working again.
Now the discussion is that some of the workers say the money should be used to pay their full arrears. But if you use the money to pay the full arrears, there would be no money to restart the factory. So the board and management say let’s give you between two or three months of your arrears and let’s put the rest of the money into production so that we ourselves can start paying your current monthly pay while we clear the arrears.
You know we must be reasonable; we must open the factory and work so that you are guaranteed your future pay.
Workers of the company have for the past two years embarked on demonstration to demand their salaries, and have accused management of being inept, careless and selfish.