Business News of Wednesday, 24 August 2016
The Deputy Power Minister John Jinapor is accusing aggrieved workers of the Public Utility Workers Union of breach of faith.
The workers have begun a three-day; three-hour sit down strike across the country to protest the impending privatization of the Electricity Company of Ghana to a private concessionaire.
They claim the deal will not be in the interest of the workers and may eventually lead to loss of jobs, at least after five years.
On Wednesday, the workers began the sitdown strike during which they wore red arm bands, chanted songs in protest over the impending sale.
Deputy Minister John Jinapor said the strike came as a complete surprise to him. According to him, the ministry met with the leaders of the workers’ union during which they addressed their grievances.
He was therefore surprised that the workers, without notice to the employers will begin a three-day sit-down strike.
“We should build trust and confidence and not spring surprises,” he stated.
He also suspected that the union’s change in leadership may have accounted for the demonstration, adding, the new leaders voted into power may not have been apprised of all the information about the privatization.
John Jinapor said his ministry will quickly convene a meeting with the new leadership early next week to address the outstanding issues.
The minister said the call by the workers for job security is legitimate, adding the ministry is equally as concerned and is even more interested in the employee welfare.
He said the ministry is looking for the best concessionaire who would have the interest of the workers at heart and not just to make profit.
John Jinapor dismissed claims that the concessionaire will fix high tariffs when it takes over the management of ECG.
“The concessionaire will not set tariffs; PURC will continue to set tariffs taking into consideration the welfare of consumers,” he said.
He said the ministry is undertaking a rigorous bidding process in order to select the best concessionaire to take over the management of ECG.
“It is a long process of takeover ; we going through a competitive tender process and raising the bar.
“We want the best with a great financial criteria,” he stated.