Former GHAPOHA Workers Cry Foul Over Severance Allowance

Mr Stephen Ashitey Adjei, Leader of Ghana Ports and Harbours retrenched workers, has called on the government to intervene to ensure that their severance benefits are paid to them.

He said since the more than 3,000 workers were retrenched in 2002, only five people have received their benefits. They are Clement Agbesi, Albert Agboado, Mohammed Okran and Baba Tunde Maricht.

He told the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Monday that the aggrieved workers won court damages for the breach of the provisions of the collective Bargaining Agreement between the parties in force, and valid as at September 2012.

There was also an award of compensation by the court to the Plaintiffs to be paid by the Defendant for its illegal/unlawful and /or unconstitutional conduct in keeping the Plaintiffs as casual workers for the period of employment thereby sabotaging and breaching their economic rights.

Mr Adjei said there was an order by the court that their compensation packages for the severance of their employment should be paid to them. He said rather the authorities concern got him arrested and spent two months at James Fort Prison.

Mr Adjei said he suspects foul play about the delay in the payment of severance award, which was sponsored by the World Bank.

He alleged that Mr Ben Owusu Mensah, the then Director General pegged the number of workers retrenched at 4,700 whilst in 2004, Mr Nestor Galley, the former Director of Tema Ports said in Parliament that the figure was 5,000.

“The same Galley said in court that our number was 10,000 and he changed it to 6000,” he said.

Mr Adjei said on June 5, 2003, the workers received a letter in response to their petition to the late Speaker of Parliament, Peter Ala Adjeitey, addressed by K.E.K Tachie the then Clerk to Parliament.

Another petition to the late President John Evans Atta Mills was acknowledged by Mr J.K. Beabaako-Mensah, former Secretary to the President.

He said on 27 July 2012, Mr Chris Azumah, Director of Human Resource signed a letter on behalf of the then Minister of Transport, saying the sector Ministry had been directed by government to resolve the impasse between the ex workers and the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority.

A meeting was therefore organised on August 2, at the Ministry’s conference room but up to date the workers have not received any positive response.

I am therefore calling on President John Dramani Mahama to use his good office to ensure justice for us,” he said.