General News of Friday, 23 March 2018
The Maritime and Dockworkers’ Union (MDU) has issued a complaint against the Managing Director of MOL Ghana Limited, alleging he violated Section 65 of the Labour Act 651, 2003.
Act 651 provides that, “When an employer contemplates the introduction of major changes in production, programme, organisation, structure or technology of an undertaking that are likely to entail the terminations of employment of workers in the undertaking the employer shall provide in writing to the Chief Labour Officer and the trade union concerned, not later than three months before the contemplated changes, all relevant information including the reasons for any termination, the number and categories of workers likely to be affected and the period within which any termination shall be carried out”.
In spite of the aforementioned legal provision, the MDU contends that Michael Cooper has blatantly refused to provide it with the list of employees that would be affected as a result of the joint venture of Nippon Yusen Kaisha, MOL and K-Line into Ocean Network Express.
MOL Ghana Limited is a shipping and Port agency company based in Tema, the industrial hub of Ghana.
The delay in releasing such details, in the opinion of the MDU, is a deliberate violation of section 65 of the Labour Act651.
The allegations and the gross abuse of workers’ rights by Michael Cooper were contained in a petition signed by Daniel Owusu Koranteng, General Secretary of the MDU and addressed to the board members of the Ocean Network Express, which is headquartered in Singapore.
“On the 16th of March, 2018, Mr. Michael Cooper who has constituted himself into a one man panel to conduct pre-determined interviews which is meant to attack key –union leaders, verbally informed four of our union members, three of whom are union executives that their services would no longer be needed in the new Ocean Network Express and asked them to proceed on immediate leave in a Rambo style,” portions of the petition states.
According to the MDU, Mr Cooper took the action without recourse to the legal requirements relating to redundancy provisions in the labour laws of Ghana.
The two-page petition further questions the employment contracts that have been handed to the employees that would be retained in the Ocean Network Express.
MDU emphasizes that the contract sharply violates the Constitution of Ghana, the Labour Act and ILO convention 98 on the rights to organize and collective bargaining and ILO Convention 87 on freedom of association and protection of human rights to organize which have been ratified by the government of Ghana, since employees have no rights to negotiate on salaries and other terms of the contract.
“In the specific case of the Disciplinary Committee, the committee is composed of management representatives with no worker representation,” the petition added.
While labeling the South African expatriate as incompetent and a non-performing asset, the MDU demanded that the four union members who were forced out of work ahead of the discussions should be recalled to work.
The petition was copied to several government institutions, including the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, Trade Union Congress (TUC), Ghana Employment Association and others.