Kingsley Owusu, Chairman Local Union of CPC. and Ekow Rhule, Public Relations Manager of CPC
Management of the Cocoa Processing Company (CPC) Limited located in the Tema Heavy Industrial Area has shut down the company as a result of what the workers described as its inability to raise capital to purchase cocoa beans for production.
About 500 workers, including mechanics, were asked to go home Monday until further notice.
The two plants where raw cocoa beans are processed were closed down.
The state-owned cocoa manufacturing company is said to have run out of raw materials and cannot pay upfront for cocoa beans and raw materials.
Some profits from shares listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) by the company are reported to have gone to the coffers of government.
Workers of the company criticized management for taking the unilateral decision to shut down the company under the pretext of undertaking maintenance work.
According to them, there was no indication from management that they would return to work anytime soon.
They appealed to government and investors to quickly intervene to resuscitate the company to avert severe consequences for other factories which depend on CPC for raw materials.
Taxes and revenue are also likely to be affected owing to the development.
When BUSINESS GUIDE visited the company on Tuesday morning, only administrative staff and security officers of the company, who constitute about 20 percent of the workforce, were seen on the premises.
The workers expressed angry at management for failing to offer adequate information.
Kingsley Owusu, Local Workers Union Chairman of CPC, in an interview with the paper, noted that there were no cocoa beans at the plant.
He said pensioners, who had invested hugely in the company, were unhappy because the company had failed to pay dividend to them.
“The reality is that there are no cocoa beans and the company cannot make profit for the pensioners. CPC is cash-trapped and needs money to survive since their competitors are providing ready cash for cocoa beans.
“CPC is bleeding. We don’t have cocoa and that is the truth. If we had cocoa beans, we will not let the people go on mass leave.”
The union chairman said the statement by management that the company was shutting down for maintenance was false.
Ekow Rhule, Public Relations Manager of CPC, for his part, refuted reports that the processing plants in Tema had been shut down because of the lack of cocoa beans.
According to him, the two plants were shutdown to allow for routine maintenance works which would be concluded at a later date.
He said the convention plant, which produces chocolate products like pebbles, chocolate among others, was functioning but the factories for semi-finished products had been shut down.
The PRO denied reports that the company was broke and could not finance the purchase of cocoa beans, saying “if we bring the beans now they will go bad since we need to do the repair works.”
Mr. Rhule disclosed that workers of the company had been asked to go on their annual leave to allow engineers from Ivory Coast to carry out maintenance that should have been done in December 2015.
As a result of a contract secured by the company, the regular repair works could not come off in December. The contract has ended, and there is the need to carry out maintenance, and after the repair work the workers would be recalled, he indicated.
According to him, the workers would receive their monthly salaries and leave allowance.
From Vincent Kubi, Tema