Uneasy calm at Customs Division

Accra, Sept. 5,
GNA – Information reaching the Ghana News Agency indicates that there is an
uneasy calm at the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).

This follows the
refusal of Management to comply with a Supreme Court judgment in February 2009
that the Officers of the Division cannot unionize.

The Supreme Court
again in November 2015 ruled that the workers cannot unionize after a staff had
petitioned the highest court for the enforcement of its earlier ruling in 2009.

The leadership of
the Senior Staff and the Junior Staff Association have made a number of   requests to the GRA Management to stop
deducting Trade Union Dues from the salaries of the personnel, but Management
had been adamant to their request.

Coming under
pressure from the rank and file, the leadership of the Labour groups in the
Customs Division (Staff Associations, Public Services Workers Union (PSWU) and
the Ghana Revenue Authority Workers Union) petitioned the Office of the
Employment and Labour Relations Minister requesting his intervention.

After a crucial
meeting Management initiated action to resolve the impasse.

 source told the GNA that a Memorandum written
by the Deputy Commissioner of Finance on August 11, 2016, instructing the Head
of GRA Pay Roll to stop deductions of Trade Union Dues from the salaries of the
Officers of Customs Division with effect from August, this year, suggests that
there was an attempt to stop the deductions.

However, in a
sudden twist, a new Memo from management was forwarded to the Head of Pay Roll
to disregard the earlier directive.

This angered
Officers of the Customs Division, who have vowed to leave no stone unturned at
ensuring that the GRA Management complies with the Supreme Court ruling.

Speaking under the
condition of animosity, a GRA staff, who is not a Customs Officer, told the GNA
that the leadership of Customs had back tracked on their earlier instructions
to stop the deductions after intense pressure from the leadership of the PSWU
of the Domestic Tax Revenue Division and the leadership of their mother union.

The investigations
further revealed that most Management staff are not happy about the posture of
the GRA PSWU leadership.

A retired Customs
Officer, who was processing his retirement claims expressed worry that without
consenting to any union membership, the PSWU Trade |Union Dues was deducted
from his monthly salary from April 2011 till his exit this year.

He was emphatic
that he and some of his retired colleagues will join forces with the labour
groups in Customs Division to cite GRA Management for contempt.

The source hinted
that the Customs Officers may decide to be quite under the circumstance and
adopt various tactics that might affect productivity.

They were of the
view that the Ministry, should as a matter of urgency, have audience with the
labour groups in Customs Division to settle the issue before it is too late.


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