Aggrieved staff of Mantrac Ghana have expressed displeasure with the National Labour Commission (NLC) and the Labour Department for allegedly showing bias towards them in a case.
The workers claimed management of the company was forcing them to stay with the Industrial & Commercial Workers Union (ICU) even though they have opted for the Ghana Mine Workers’ Union (GMWU).
According to the workers, they suspect the NLC and the Labour Department had connived with management of Mantrac Ghana, hence the inability of the two institutions to objectively and promptly deal with the issues before them.
The workers alleged that there was no transparency in deductions of dues made at source from their salaries to the ICU, adding that all attempts to get any proper records on the transactions had fallen on deaf ears.
“We suspect the ICU is just playing mischief about the whole issue which has dragged the issue, hence the unfair termination of appointments,” an employee of the company, who pleaded anonymity, told the paper.
About 70 staff of Mantrac Ghana were recently dismissed over their intention to join the ICU.
But the workers stated: “This is aimed at intimidating us to rescind our decision to join GMWU.”
A senior official of ICU told a representative of the workers that if they want their dismissed colleagues to be recalled, then they should cancel their planned migration to GMWU, they alleged.
According to the workers, on countless occasions, they have written letters to the Labour Commission and Labour Department to urge management of Mantrac to cease paying dues to ICU but to no avail.
Call for objectivity
The workers have therefore called on the acting Chief Labour Officer to be objective in the matter and adjudicate fairly.
Even though the workers have tendered their membership withdrawal letters from ICU and served copies of the letters to Mantrac Ghana, management still refuses to recognize GMWU.
“This is a clear case of discrimination and infringement on workers’ rights to unionize.”
Since 31st August, this year, two motions have been sent to the Commission.
They added that they have submitted all documents, including enrollment forms for all workers who have resigned from ICU to the Labour Commission.
“GMWU is now present in Mantrac so we still don’t know why ICU is still saying that we are still their members.
But their reason is that when we sent our withdrawal letters to their office our representative did not collect receipt and that is why they are still saying we are their members. But Mantrac management, GMUW, Labour department, Labour Commission all have copies of this withdrawal letters. ICU does not have a form bearing particulars of any of us.”
Meanwhile, the case of unionization has been adjourned for two weeks because the commissioner pledged to invite the Acting chief labour officer to come and clarify some issues that have been raised.
The workers have also called on the local union chairman, Abubakar Seidu, to explain the existing contract between ICU and Mantrac.
By Samuel Boadi