15 September 2016

NLC summons Transport Minister over railway workers’ intended strike

Acting Minister of Transport, Fifi Franklyn Fiavi KweteyThe Minister of Transport, Mr Fifi Kwetey, has been subpoenaed to appear before the National Labour Commission (NLC) on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 to answer questions and related matters on the planned strike by the Ghana Railway Workers Union (GRWU).

The General Secretary of the GRWU, Mr Goodwill Ntarmah, told the Daily Graphic that following the summoning of the minister, the GRWU had temporarily suspended an indefinite strike it had planned from today, pending the outcome of the NLC intervention.

A letter from the NLC addressed to the minister and copied to the acting Chief Director of the Ministry of Finance, Mr Patrick Lumor, said the appearance of the minister was mandatory.

Notice of hearing

The letter read: “You are commanded to appear before the National Labour Commission on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 at 2 p.m. for the hearing of the complaint of ‘Notice of Intention to Withdraw Service’ lodged against you by complainants, notice of which is hereby given you and from day to day thereafter as may be needed until the end of the hearing to give evidence on behalf of the complainants or respondent.”

The GRWU, in a letter dated August 30, 2016 and addressed to the Chief of Staff at the Presidency, said following the failure of the government to release financial support to the Ghana Railway Company (GRC) Limited since January 2016, its workers had decided to embark on an indefinite strike from September 12, 2016 until all arrears were released by the Ministry of Finance.

Prior notice

Before that, the union had, from September 1, 2016, hoisted red flags at all offices of the GRC and on all passenger trains.

The letter, which was presented to the Chief of Staff, said the union had arrived at its decision because it believed the Ministry of Finance was insensitive to the plight of railway workers whose salaries were nothing to write home about.

“We have been co-operative with the government and we think the situation cannot be the same forever while our workers continue to suffer,” it said.

The GRC, the letter said, continued to be a fully owned state institution and so the workers could “no longer be taken for a ride by the Ministry of Finance”.

The union averred that financial support for the payment of July and August 2016 salaries, as well as the payment of accumulated Social Security contributions, tier two contributions, workers’ credit union contributions, union dues to both the TUC and the GRWU, as well as other operational issues, had not been forthcoming.



Source: Graphic.com.gh

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