Accra, June 20, GNA - The Ghana Mineworkers Union (GMWU) has reacted to comments made by the Human Resource Manager of SGS Laboratory Services recently in the media about the wrongful termination of its union member's employment describing them as most unfortunate.
The GMWU called for investigations into the SGS laboratory's unethical practices that resulted in the unfair termination of the appointment of a laboratory technician, who is the Tema branch union chairman of the GMWU in 2011.
A statement signed by Prince William Ankrah, General Secretary, GMWU and copied to the Ghana News Agency on Wednesday said it was an unfortunate that the HR Manager instead of addressing the issues raised by the GMWU on the use of expired sodium/potassium standard reagents and the unfair termination of employment decided to put false information out in the media.
The company, a social partner in the mining sector in Ghana, terminated the appointment of its local union chairman for refusing to carry out the orders of his boss to allegedly use expired reagents (sodium and potassium) to test water samples from some mining companies.
It said the sodium/potassium standard reagent in question was to calibrate the machine (Flame Photometer) used for analyzing the amount of sodium and potassium in client sample.
The statement said while the employee was in the process of doing that, out of diligence, he discovered that the chemical reagent he requested from the store had expired for almost a year without the knowledge of the management of the lab.
The reason for calibrating the machine before using it to analyze client sample or any other sample is to verify the authenticity of the machine using an approved and unexpired calibration standard reagent in excellent condition.
The statement further said the leadership of the GMWU therefore considered it strange how any Laboratory Technician could do a meaningful analysis under a situation where the standard required for the authentication of the machine have expired per the manufacturer's label and the Laboratory Manager would still insist on its use.
“The GMWU cannot understand why in a hand written instruction given by Mr. Peter Sarpong, the Quality Control Officer dated 22-03-2012 insisted the employee should still go ahead and use the expired chemical to calibrate the machine even after his attention has been drawn to the non-suitability of the chemical in question.”
“This instruction was what in the opinion of the employee violates the standard operating procedure, the quality manual and the code of integrity and professional conduct of the company, which all employees are mandated to uphold”.
The statement said the GMWU gathered that per the standard procedure of the company such expired chemicals were to be kept away from the laboratory environment and be discarded.
In addition, it said the Union was also reliably informed that there had been instances when the laboratory came under serious problems because auditors discovered expired chemicals in the stores of the laboratory and assumed that the lab was using such chemicals for calibration and other analysis.
“It is therefore strange why the managers of the SGS laboratory… will seek to victimize the employee because he insisted that the right thing be done.
“The claim by the HR Manager is most bizarre and ridiculous because it contravenes the standard operating procedure, the quality manual and the code of integrity and professional conduct of the company.”
Again, the statement said the HR Manager's claim that the employee was asked to validate the potency of the expired reagent was baseless and does not exist in the standard operating procedure of the company.
It said the HR claim also that the employee could not substantiate the matter at a meeting with the Managing Director in the presence of the other managers mentioned in this issue was never true and most unfortunate.
On the employee's entitlements, the statement said it was untrue that he had been paid by the company. “All checks by the GMWU from the employees bankers reveal that no such payment have been made on his behalf by his employers since June 2011 that the employee was arbitrarily dismissed from the company.”
The Union said the only amount which came into the employee's account during the period was about GH¢ 200 being pay for the number of days he worked before the unfair termination.
“This amount obviously could not be taken as the entitlements SGS management claims it has paid.
“GMWU is strongly urging the management of SGS Laboratory Services to refrain from telling lies and develop a strategic engagement mindset to forestall further embarrassment emanating from this arguably ugly press war.
“Our prime motive is to ensure that our chairman of the Tema SGS Branch Union is treated fairly by the system he has firmly supported through strict adherence to laid down business ethics.”