…calls for reinstatement of wrongfully terminated workers
Secretary-General of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) Dr. Yaw Baah has reiterated that the TUC will not stand by for any worker in Ghana to suffer any abuse, humiliation or indignity for freely choosing to exercise their rights guaranteed by the Constitution, labour laws and ILO Conventions 87 (Right to Freedom of Association) and 98 (Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining).
He went on to add that, “No worker, whether in the formal or informal economy of Ghana, will be allowed to suffer any form of injustice for choosing to join or form a trade union”.
During a press conference at TUC headquarters to draw attention to some unfortunate developments at Sunon Asogli Power (Ghana) Ltd., Dr. Baah said the situation has serious implications for the exercise of constitutional rights as Ghanaians as well as efforts at getting working people to join the trade union movement in order to protect their social and economic interests.
Specifically, 70 workers of Sunon Asogli Power (Ghana) Ltd. decided to join the Ghana Mineworkers’ Union (GMWU) of TUC in February 2021.
The GMWU and workers at Sunon Asogli went through all necessary legal processes to acquire a Collective Bargaining Certificate, which was duly issued by the Chief Labour Officer. The Collective Bargaining Certificate empowers the GMWU to represent and negotiate with the Company on behalf of unionised workers.
On 13th February this year, leadership of GMWU met some unionised workers of the company in a public space outside the company’s premises; the purpose of which was to fraternise with members and inform them of an impending election for their leaders at the enterprise level.
After that meeting, GMWU was informed by Sunon Asogli Power workers that a number of them had been issued with query letters – apparently for joining the union and meeting with union leaders.
The workers who met leaders of the GMWU were all off duty.
On 2nd March 2023, management of the Company terminated the employment of three Sunon Asogli Power (Ghana) branch union leaders – including the Union Secretary, the Assistant Secretary and the Chairperson – for the reason that they had joined a trade union and been elected to lead workers at the enterprise level.
The only ‘crime’ they have committed, according to management of Sunon Asogli Power (Ghana) Ltd., is that they have decided to join a trade union of their choice to protect their social and economic interests; in accordance with the Constitution of Ghana, the Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651) and International Labour Organisation’s Conventions 87 and 98 which have been ratified by Ghana.
Consequently, the GMWU brought these blatant abuses of workers’ rights, which are fundamental human rights, to the attention of TUC and all relevant state authorities as well as some entities associated with the company, including the National Labour Commission.
These include the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Minister for Energy, Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Chief Labour Officer and Executive Secretary of the Energy Commission.
The Chinese Ambassador to Ghana; the General Secretary of International Trades Union Confederation (Africa Region), Lome-Togo; and His Royal Majesty, Togbe Afede IV – the Agbogbomefia of Asogli State and President of the Asogli Traditional Area, were also notified.
Following the three local union leaders’ termination of employment, other unionised workers are being subjected to various acts of intimidation, victimisation and abuse by their Chinese bosses and their Ghanaian collaborators.
Local union executives have been forcefully informed to either rescind their decision to remain in the union or face termination of employment, among others.
Dr. Baah stated that the TUC cannot stand by for these violations and abuses of workers’ rights to go on after 66 years of independence from colonial rule.
Consequently, he called for the management of Sunon Asogli Power (Ghana) Ltd. and all authorities concerned to ensure that all three local union leaders of Sunon Asogli Power (Ghana) Limited whose appointments have been wrongfully terminated are reinstated immediately.
The TUC boss added that if by April 3, 2023 the three local union leaders who have been dismissed are not reinstated and the various acts of intimidation and victimisation by Sunon Asogli Power (Ghana) Ltd. have not ceased, the Trades Union Congress (Ghana) and all its affiliate unions will have no other option but to advise themselves.