Mantrac Ghana has terminated the appointment of 70 of its workers which will take effective from Thursday 25th August, 2016 without prior notice to them.
The termination letter, signed by Kingsley J. Amoako-Mensah, Human Resource Manager and distributed to the affected workers, stated that they had engaged in “an illegal industrial action.”
The letter was copied to the Product Support Manager, among others.
It indicated that the workers would forfeit Account B of their Provident Fund.
“By a copy of this letter, the Salaries Administrator is advised to delete your name from our payroll with immediate effect. You will be advised with a cessation account. Please ensure you handover all company property in your care to your supervisor before you leave the premises,” it emphasized.
Workers reveal secret
One of the affected workers told BUSINESS GUIDE in an interview that “I have worked with Mantrac for almost seven years now. And what the managers do is that immediately they employ you, they start deducting your union dues to Industrial & Commercial Workers Union (ICU) even when you are on probation, a practice which is against workers’ freedom of association even without enrolment. So last year August, about 280 workers of Mantrac resigned from ICU though they were not enrolled.”
They said 98 percent of junior staff resigned from the ICU because of the lack of accountability.
“And the ICU does nothing to resolve such issues even though deductions are made from workers’ salaries as dues every month. For 30 years now, Mantrac Ghana has been dealing with the ICU in connection with workers’ union fees, they indicated.
The aggrieved workers said owing to the development, last year they served the National Labour Department, Mantrac and ICU with their resignation letters from the union.
However, after forwarding their letters to the company, Mantrac continued to make deductions from their salaries to the ICU.
“Immediately management realized our stance, they started intimidating us that we should change our resolve to join the Ghana Mine Workers Union (GMWU) which was a preferred option. All along we had thought the Labour Union frowned on instances where an employer meddles in workers’ union issues only to find later that this was a gang.”
“So through this, one of our workers appointment was unfairly terminated because he had represented the workers at meetings held by the Labour Department. Also, a management staff and a board member have vowed not to allow us to migrate to GMWU.
The case was forwarded to the Labour Department for settlement but it was not handled well.
“Anytime a meeting was scheduled to resolve the issue, officials of the ICU never showed up.”
The workers alleged that the local ICU union chairman also benefitted from the unaccounted for monies.
“He was the brain behind our revocation letters. We don’t even know how he became chairman. Instead of allowing the workforce to nominate and vote, management imposed him on us.”
Labour Department wrote a letter dated 24th June, this year, signed by Eugene N. Korletey, Acting Chief Labour Officer, asking that the intended migration of aggrieved workers of Mantrac should be put on hold, while management of ICU, Mantrac and GMWU conferred with the Labour Department to find a workable solution to the crisis.
According to the workers, on countless occasions they wrote letters to the Labour Commission and Labour Department to inform management of Mantrac to cease paying dues to ICU but to no avail.
“So in June, this year, the workers wrote to management and threatened to embark on a strike action if the deductions continued.
“Immediately they received that threat from us, they sent a memo that said they had ceased the deductions. Now it is clear that management, ICU and Labour Commission had connived to stall the process of our unionization, hence the termination.”