THE Ghana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) has called out managers of Chinese energy sector investors Sunon-Asogli Power, Ghana Limited for what it described as human and labour rights abuses against staff of the company.
At a press briefing attended by officials of the entire organised labour in Ghana Monday, Anthony Yaw Baah, Secretary General of GTUC, accused the managers of the power company owned by Shenzhen Energy Group Limited of China of putting impediments in the way of unionisation of the workers who sought to unionise and secure their Collective Bargaining Certificate.
According to the TUC Secretary-General, Sunon-Asogli Power (Ghana) Ltd categorised under essential service providers in the Labour Act, has wrongfully terminated the employments of three local union leaders.
Baah said the rest of the unionised workers were being subjected to various acts of intimidation, victimisation, and abuse ‘by their Chinese bosses and their Ghanaian collaborators.
‘We are serving notice and notice is hereby served that if by April 3, 2023, the three local union leaders who have been dismissed are not reinstated and the various acts of intimidation and victimization by Sunon-Asogli Power (Ghana) Ltd have not ceased, the Trades Union Congress (Ghana) and all its affiliate unions shall have no other option but to advise themselves,’ the Secretary-General stated.
Baah further urged the ministers of energy, employment and labour relations, finance, national security and the National Labour Commission (NLC) to take keen interest in the matter, since Sunon-Asogli Power (Ghana) Ltd is categorized under essential service providers in the Labour Act.
‘If our demands are not met, we are going to act decisively in accordance with TUC’s fundamental principle that injustice to a worker anywhere in Ghana is injustice to all Ghanaian workers everywhere, and the collective actions we will take can have serious consequences for the effective functioning of the entire economy of Ghana,’ he cautioned.
TUC explained that nearly 70 workers of Sunon Asogli Power (Ghana) Ltd took the decision to join the (Ghana Mine Workers Union) GMWU in February, 2021.
He said the Sunon-Asogli workers went through all the necessary legal processes to acquire a Collective Bargaining Certificate, which was duly issued by the Chief Labour Officer. The Collective Bargaining certificate empowers the GMWU to represent and negotiate with the company on behalf of the unionized workers.
However, the statement added that, Sunon-Asogli Power (Ghana) Ltd, through its lawyers, demanded to know the names of the unionised workers as a condition for the recognition of the Collective Bargaining Certificate issued by the Labour Department.
‘This issue ended at the National Labour Commission (NLC) and the Commission, on two occasions, Directed and Ruled that the list of the names of the workers was not relevant at that stage and that the Certificate was properly and legally issued to GMWU so the Company must enter into negotiations with the Union,
‘The Company and its lawyers disregarded the decisions of the Commission with impunity and have since refused to respond to any correspondence from GMWU,” said the TUC.
‘Due to the company’s intransigence and refusal to comply with sections 102 and 111 of the Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651), and its refusal to respond to any correspondence from the union, GMWU served the company with a notice of intention to embark on strike, which was copied to the National Labour Commission
‘The Commission summoned the parties to appear before it on March 1, 2023, but the company’s management refused to appear, instead sending a note to inform the Commission that they could not appear because they were appearing before another high court,’ the TUC said.
The TUC said the attitude and actions of the Chinese power company was worrying since it showed no regard for the country’s labour laws and ILO regulations.
The leadership of TUC, therefore, cautioned the management of Sunon Asogli Power (Ghana) Ltd to refrain from any further acts of intimidation, fear and panic being unleashed on labour union members in the company and stop the abuse of the rights their employees to belong to a union of their choice.