The management of Ghana Community Network Services Limited (GCNet) says it is prepared to pay redundancy compensation to its laid-off workers in accordance with legal processes.
According to the management, it is challenging the arbitral award by a panel of the National Labour Commission (NLC) not because the company wants to deny the workers compensation, but it wants to ensure that the right procedures are followed in line with the Labour Act.
Bearing in mind that the bill for redundancy compensation payment will have to be submitted to government for a refund as the result of abrogating its trade services contract with GCNet, the compensation has to be properly negotiated and administered, the company says.
Mr. Alwin Hoegerle, Managing Director of GCNET, explains that the anomalies detected in basing the compensation calculation on the company’s Human Resource Policy Manual – for which management sent the matter to the NLC and High Court – have to be rectified so as not to make it difficult for government to honour its obligations in settling the bill.
He said although Accra High Court denied management’s application to set aside the NLC arbitral award compelling the company to pay redundancy compensation without negotiation with a registered trade union, management is filing an appeal against the decision – which ignored the claim of incapacity of the Welfare Staff Association to negotiate on behalf of the workers.
He assured the affected workers of their compensation, adding that: “We are eager to complete the adjudication process so that we can execute the compensation payments in an appropriate manner”.
Disagreement over arrangements for payment of compensation, including the Welfare Staff Association’s capacity to negotiate on behalf of some 148 affected workers, led management and the workers to the Labour Commission; following which the Commission’s arbitration panel, in its September 14, 2020 award, ruled that the provisions in the company’s Human Resource Policy Manual should be used in paying compensation to the redundant workers.
However, management is challenging the award – since involvement of the association, which is not a registered union and does not have a collective bargaining certificate, renders use of the manual for redundancy compensation negotiation illegal, as it contravenes provisions of the Labour Act on redundancy.
Thereafter, the remaining 50 workers embarked on an industrial action; but the Labour Commission, declared that action as illegal and accordingly directed them to call off the strike, to which they complied.
The redundancy exercise was triggered by government’s abrupt abrogation of its trade facilitation service contract with GCNet, effective May 31, 2020.