SGS-GCNet Defies NLC Award To Pay Off Staff
GCNet, a company which trumpeted its hallmark of integrity and professionalism as a law-abiding entity is deliberately acting in bad faith in blatant disregard for its internal HR policy and Labour Act of Ghana.
In a comedy of ill-advised decisions, SGS the parent company of GCNet and its Executive Management has refused to respect an Arbitration Award in favour of about 147 affected staff whose employment were terminated on June 30, 2020.
The management of GCNet served one-month notice of undertaking a redundancy exercise to affected staff on May 29, 2020 instead of the mandatory three months as stipulated by the Labour Act. The notice outlined steps to ensure completion of redundancy process including full payment of severance package on or before June 30th 2020.
The notice to affected staff read in part ‘Per the termination clause in your contract of employment, GCNet is hereby serving one month notice effective 1st June, 2020. The effective date of your termination will be 30th June 2020 and the redundancy payment made on or before 30th June, 2020.’
The redundancy was because of Government’s termination of GCNet’s TradeNet and Transit Service contract on May 31, 2020 which notice was served in early April 2020.
By June 30, 2020, Executive Management refused to respect the terms of disengagement which culminated in a series of discussions between Welfare Association representing staff and Executive Management representing SGS/ GCNet. Following a deadlock in discussions, the matter was jointly referred to the National Labour Commission (NLC) on August 11, 2020 by parties involved which ended in Arbitration for resolution.
An Arbitration Panel was jointly selected by the parties and the NLC. The parties selected one arbitrator each from the list of arbitrators and the NLC selected a Chairman to constitute the three member panel.
On September 4, 2020, the NLC appointed Arbitration Panel ruled in favour of affected staff upholding HRPM Article 1901(f) of the GCNet HR Policy Manual to be respected without any variation or adjustment and also ordered that the effective date of redundancy was August 31, 2020 which should be regarded as the last day of employment for each employee, with clear instruction to pay August salaries to affected staff.
Days after Arbitration Award, GCNet Executive Management / SGS in its penchant for breaching agreement and total disregard for rights of staff has refused to respect the ruling of the Arbitration Panel as backed by law (Labour Act and Constitution of Ghana) and rather in defiant posture has approached the National Labour Commission (NLC) to review the arbitration award.
Affected staff are at a loss why GCNet Executive Management / SGS through their Consultant, have resorted to these tactics to frustrate and delay the payment, clearly a gross abuse of administrative process knowing fully well that when an Arbitration Panel issues an Arbitrarion Award, it is Final and Binding and therefore it cannot be reviewed summarily.
Affected staff further noted they are shocked at the delay tactics which is clearly against the core tenets of INTEGRITY and PROFESSIONALISM among others which all staff including Executive Management of GCNet and leadership of SGS sign up to every year to live by and cannot fathom why Executive Management and SGS would do otherwise.