The Tema District Council of the Maritime and Dock Workers Union (MDU), is demanding the immediate withdrawal of Tullow Ghana employees who, according to the MDU, are conducting feasibility studies and also evaluating employee performance at the PSC Tema Shipyard.
The union has also called on the government to hand over the management of the shipyard to the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), since it has the capacity and expertise to handle the facility.
The council made the call at a press conference in Accra yesterday.
Members of the union wore red armbands to register their displeasure with the ongoing negotiations between the government and Tullow with the view to ceding portions of the shipyard to Tullow for the development and fabrication of parts of a second floating, production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel.
'With the right management under the GPHA, it is possible to develop the shipyard into a first-class modern shipbuilding and repairs company in Africa to provide drydock and repair services for ships plying the western shoreline of Africa and then take advantage of the increased vessel call in the oil industry for Ghana and the sub-region,' the union noted.
The Minister of Transport, Ms Dzifa Attivor, however, maintained at a recent media interaction that the government had not handed over the management of the shipyard to Tullow.
She said the whole arrangement had been misconstrued and that Tullow would provide about 600 jobs and also train existing staff of the shipyard to ensure that their operations were up to date under a two-year arrangement to ensure that the local content demand was met.
Addressing the media, the Secretary of the Tema District Council of Labour, Mr Ebenezer Taylor, called on the government to pursue a bigger vision for the shipyard under the management of the GPHA, instead of reducing the potential of the company to the fabrication of parts for Tullow's FPSO.
He said the union found the current negotiations to lease out portions of the shipyard to Tullow before the implementation of the takeover processes by the GPHA an unfortunate U-turn in efforts at addressing the management problems of the shipyard.
Mr Taylor explained that despite the recommendation of the Chris Ackumey Committee for the GPHA to manage the facility, the payment of the $6.36 million by the GPHA to complete the buy-back process and the expression of interest by the GPHA to manage the shipyard, the government had not taken any serious decision for the realisation of the full potential of the company since it became a wholly owned Ghanaian company over a year now.
He said the shipyard was a gold mine which could create employment for more than 1,000 people and that the country could not go on a gambling spree with such an important national asset.
Mr Taylor further called on the government to take immediate steps to implement the recommendations of the Ackumey Committee for the takeover and management of the shipyard by the GPHA.
He also asked the government to provide the GPHA with an opportunity to present its proposals to revamp the shipyard into a modern shipbuilding and repairs company in Africa.
'We wish to express our commitment to the struggle for the realisation of the dream of the founding fathers of our nation to make the Tema Shipyard a strategic national asset well-resourced and managed by Ghanaians to operate at full potential in Africa,' he said.
By Emmanuel Adu-Gyamera & Della Russel Ocloo/Daily Graphic/Ghana