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11 February 2017

Labour Commission Staff on Warpath

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SOME AGGRIEVED workers of the National Labour Commission (NLC) in the early hours of yesterday locked up the offices of the Commission located at Ridge, Accra, in a protest against management’s decision to terminate the appointments of two staff of the NLC.

The two affected staff – a driver and Industrial Relations Officer – were reportedly sacked by management of the Commission after they had accordingly refused to go on transfer from the NLC’s head office in Accra to its Tarkoradi’s branch.

Unhappy with the decision which they apparently saw to be politically motivated, the dismissed employees decided to stage a protest with support from four of their colleagues at the Industrial Relations and Drivers’ Departments of the Commission, resulting in them locking up the offices of the Commission.

They were demanding that management of the National Labour Commission set aside the termination of their employment and have them recalled.

It took the intervention of the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffour Awuah, to calm the workers down and have them open the offices.

Executive Secretary of the National Labour Commission and an appointee of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Charles Bawaduah, told DAILY GUIDE in an interview that the two workers’ employment was terminated on the basis of what he termed “gross insubordination and gross misconduct.”

Charting the path to their dismissal, Mr. Bawaduah said “sometime in October 2016 when I assumed Office as the new Executive Secretary, I noticed that the National Labour Commission is only functional in Accra but the law requires the Commission to be existent in all regions and districts.”

“Now the only existing regional office was the Takoradi Office which to say the least did not live up to the expectation of the Commission when it was being set up. So I decided that the regional office needed to be revamped and that will serve as a guide and example to the opening of the other regional offices,” he claimed.

He said “so we (management) decided to do some transfers of staff. So two workers were transferred from Takoradi to Accra and two other persons were transferred from here to Takoradi in October 2016.”

He continued that “now the workers who were transferred from Accra to Takoradi wrote back to management to say that they needed more time to relocate. Initially, they were given up to November 2016 to report and so we gave them up to 3rd of January 2017 to report. On 3rd January, they refused to report meanwhile the officers from Tarkoradi had reported here.”

Mr. Bawaduah who once contested in an NDC parliamentary race added that “meaning that the vacancy in the Tarkoradi Office needed to be filled. When they refused to report, we (management) inquired from them why and they said they didn’t have accommodation.”

Asked whether the Commission had made accommodation provision for the staff as part of the transfer package, Mr. Bawaduah indicated that it was not the responsibility of the Commission to provide accommodation for staff who are being transferred.

“These workers have made it categorically clear that they will not go to Tarkoradi. So all these things about accommodation were just excuses. So the Commission again gave them up to 15th of January to report but when they failed to report again then the Commission served them a query to explain why disciplinary action should not be taken against them and as at noon on Wednesday, February 7, 2017 they had not responded to the query, he said.

He indicated that “so the Commission decided to terminate their employment; gross insubordination, gross misconduct and that’s the basis for the protest this morning.”

Meanwhile, he told this paper that management member of the Commission will be meeting today to decide the way forward to the issue.

Source: Daily Guide

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