The Timber and Woodworkers Union (TWU) of the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC), has expressed regret over an inconclusive tripartite meeting initiated by the Ministry of Lands, Forestry and Mines, to discuss issues related to the payment of severance awards to former employees of the "divested" Western Veneer and Lumber Company (WVLC).
Mr Joshua Ansah, General Secretary of TWU told newsmen in Accra on Thursday that the Union appreciated the Ministry's response to its call for a tripartite meeting between the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC), ASD Lumber (Ghana) Limited, the would-be investor and the Union to iron out issues regarding severance pay for the 700 employees of WVLC in accordance with the Union's existing Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), before the new investor took over the company.
He expressed regret, however, that in spite of an agreement between the three parties at their first meeting on November 21, on a timetable to negotiate and pay the severance awards to the affected workers by February 9, next year before a take over, the Ministry and the DIC took a different stance at their second meeting on December 5, in favour of ASD Lumber, to commence business without the settlement of the severance issue.
Mr Ansah said the Union had expressed its surprise at the sudden turn of events and reiterated its position on the severance payment as a guarantee to provide ASD Lumber the right of entry into the WVLC yard.
Government he noted, enacted the Labour Law, Act 651 of 2003, which governed the country's industrial relations practice, saying: "We believe that since the government upholds the rule of law, it would ensure that this Labour Act works smoothly.