17.05.2004 Feature Article

# Arm-Twisting At ACS?

A company which operates as a company where the individual counts, knows that it will strike the responsive chord in the highly "competitive job market" in Ghana. But companies which twist workers' arms to extract "super profits" are bound to meet with opposition sooner or later.

The earlier ACS BPS Ghana Limited took advice and Jim Charles, its Site Manager began to give ear to the cries of anguish of his over one thousand Transactional Processosrs (Data Keyers), the better for the future of the company.

To work as a TP in this company, one has to pass a typing test of 60 wpm with 95% accuracy and must hold an SSS certificate with passes in English and mathematics. That is private secretary level. On the job, a much higher speed plus 99.95% accuracy is required.

Otherwise, she faces sanctions including suspension or termination at will. Aside, a Keyer must gain the favour of a "comprado" class called Team Leaders (TLs).

When the company started in Ghana in 2000, workers who keyed a minimum of eight batches were paid one million cedis per fortnight.

Today, they key ten, twelve, even fifteen but do not get half the amount unless there is favour coming from somewhere! All these started when the former Site Manager, Mr. Damon left Ghana and subsequently resigned from the company.

The new Site Manager cuts down workers' earnings at will. Many Keyers receive two hundred thousand plus gross pay now. During the beginning of the year, he tried frantically to force a 12-hour/day working condition on keyers.

He threatened to sack 200 workers if his proposal was not accepted by workers, and because workers rejected it, he has started sacking them through any means possible.

They are graded "A", "B", and "C".

At A, a keyer is paid the full amount for work done, at B she is paid 75%. at C, a Keyer's earning is split into two! Who takes the other part? To be at C, you only have to be unlucky to make one error. Someone can make 20 errors but could still be at A or B! What kind of monkey business is this?

Worst or all, the Country Manager would not meet more than three members of the workers' representatives and would not allow them to have access to a consultant nor Mr. Austin Gamey, whom the workers want to represent them at negotiations. "This is my company, these are my regulations, those who would not obey them can resign."

He tells workers bluntly to resign if they would not accept reductions in earnings! Workers are forced to sign spurious one-sided documents preventing them from disclosing anything to any outsider about what is happening in the company.

The workers are all disgruntled and blame the country's president Mr. John A. Kufuor who allegedly praised the company for employing and paying keyers more than their fathers.

They wish the president would send investigative journalists to the company and see what is happening.

Mr. President, it is interesting to know how ACS employs without the involvement of the Ministry of Labour and Employment! Workers are employed through one door and sacked through another.