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Regional News Tue, 22 May 2012

GMWU challenges wrongful termination of SGS Laboratory Services employee

The Ghana Mine Workers Union (GMWU) has called on the Geneva parent company SGS Laboratories Services in Tema-Accra, to investigate unethical practice which led to the wrongful dismissal of an employee.

The company, one of the social partners in the mining sector in Ghana, terminated the appointment of its local union chairman for refusing to carry out the orders of his boss to allegedly use expired reagents (sodium and potassium) to test water samples from some mining companies.

A statement signed by Mr. Eric Gyima, Deputy General Secretary of GMWU, therefore called on SGS in Geneva to “intervene by setting up a high powered team to investigate this unethical practice at its Tema Laboratory, and bring to book any person found culpable.”

The Union is also demanding the unconditional reinstatement of the employee concerned, for the due process enshrined in the Collective Agreement to take its course.

It said, though SGS as an international company is noted for its adherence to high standards globally, management of its local subsidiary in Ghana terminated the union chairman’s appointment without recourse to the provisions and procedures in the company's collective agreement.

Giving background to the story, the statement said the branch union chairman, a laboratory technician was requested by the laboratory manager to use the expired reagents to carry out the tests.

It said the stance of the employee was that, it was unethical practice for which he was not prepared to condone with, since it was in contravention with the company’s standard operating procedures.

“In the view of the GMWU, if the employee had gone ahead to use the expired reagents for analysis, the consequences for the mining companies which are the company’s clients could be anybody’s guess,” it said.

It said after his termination, the employee was rather arrested by the Tema Community 1 Police and detained on 26th May 2011, for allegedly circulating false information about SGS Laboratory Services to its clients, as well as the company’s headquarters in Geneva.

The statement said the employee petitioned the Director-General of the Criminal Investigation Department on 3rd June 2011 and after thorough investigations, he was cleared of the charges and was freed.**

Source: GNA