Business News of Friday, 26 August 2016
Ghanaian workers of the Ghana Gas company at Atuabo in the Western Region Friday laid down their tools in demand of better working conditions and training opportunities.
The workers who wore red clothes and carried placards to denote their displeasure at what they say is the shabby treatment by management, had reported to work, signed in their attendance but refused to work.
Rather they carried placards bearing such inscriptions as “Training Nop!!! Chop Chop Yep!!!”, “Give us better conditions of service”, “We have the worst HR in the world”, “We are in a gas plant yet no training”, “No training, no operation”, “Don’t collapse this company like Blackstar airline & railways”, “Devoted for high risk but no appreciation”, “Where is the LPG money?”, “Bogus OM contract”, and “Train us and stop giving contracts to incompetent contractors”.
Security detail at the plant later shut the about 30 workers out and refused them re-entry. Expatriate workers, mainly Chinese, however remained at post.
The deputy secretary of the local union, Samuel Ekuban, told mediamen that the Ghanaian workers were unable to learn anything from their foreign counterparts as stipulated by their terms of engagement because the people themselves do not know.
“When it comes to learning from these people, I’m telling you that we are not able to get the right training that we need from these Chinese. And this is really hurting the company and this is really hurting the ordinary employee of Ghana Gas.
“So the bottom line is this, as employees of Ghana Gas we have to make sure the systems are working, and we cannot sit back and just look at what is happening without voicing out. Muteness is going to kill us so we have to talk, that is why we are demonstrating.”
Ghana Gas is mandated to build, own and operate infrastructure required for the gathering, processing, transporting and marketing of natural gas resources in the country and has a vision to contribute to Ghana’s rapid industrialization process by building the infrastructure required for gathering, processing and delivery of natural gas resources to industry in a safe, cost effective, responsible and reliable manner. Management reaction
Communications Manager of the Company, Alfred Ogbamey told Graphic Online it is unfortunate the workers downed their tools after they were reminded of the illegality of their action.
He said among other demands, the workers are calling for the premature abrogation of the contract with the Chinese so locals can take over the operations. However, he said the transfer clause for the Chinese to hand over the system comes into force next year when the three-year contract expires.
It is therefore inappropriate to ask for abrogation when such an action has clear implications on the company.
Again, he said an earlier meeting chaired by the Energy Minister had cogently allayed the fears of the workers over rumoured takeover of some of their operations by the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Co. Ltd (BOST) after it was established that the issues were baseless.
According to Alfred Ogbamey, Friday’s demonstration by a section of the workers did not have the blessing of the mother union which had counseled against it but the workers still proceeded with it.
And they were disingenuous about it, displaying equipment penned down for replacement at the next scheduled maintenance from 31st August to 3rd September.