01.05.2004 General News

ICU threatens to break away from TUC

01.05.2004 LISTEN

Accra, May 1, GNA - The Industrial and Commercial Workers Union has threatened to break away from the Trades Union Congress (TUC) if the latter continues to use what it termed "double standards" in the resolution of labour problems.

Mr. Napoleon Kpoh, General Secretary of the ICU gave the threat when he spoke to newsmen after the Union had held a parallel May Day celebration at the forecourt of the TUC offices in Accra. The ICU refused to participate in the main May Day celebration at the Independence Square in protest against the TUC for allowing the breakaway faction, the Union of Industry, Commence and Finance (UNICOF) to take part in the celebration.

According to Mr. Kpoh, the decision was also to avoid a clash between members of the ICU and UNICOF at the parade grounds. He said the National Executive Council (NEC) of the ICU would soon meet to take a decision on whether it would continue to remain with the TUC or otherwise. Addressing the well-attended rally, which was marked with drumming, singing and dancing, Mr. Kpoh said the NECD decided to celebrate this year's May Day focusing on the protection and promotion of the interest of its members.

He noted that the TUC had not demonstrated the same measurement in dealing with the dispute between ICU and UNICOF as enshrined in Article 10 (7) of its own law and had continued to collaborate with UNICOF in an attempt to break the front of ICU.

Mr. Kpoh said that the ICU was going through serious challenges as the largest National Union in the country, adding that, although these challenges threaten its unity and strength, they would be overcome in grand style.

Mr. Kpoh advised employers, workers and trade union leaders to ensure that labour market relationship was based on strong and well-informed union and managements in addition to mutually beneficial social partnerships that address workplace issues in a mutually respectful way.

He called on ICU members to shun people going round in their locals "with ill-gotten peanuts" preaching disintegration in the union and asked some workers in the banks who have fallen prey to these manoeuvres to come back to where they rightly belong.

Some of the members of the ICU interviewed expressed their solidarity with the decision of their NEC not to celebrate the May Day with others unions at the Independence Square. The workers later drove through some principal streets of Accra amid tooting of horns and carrying, placards some of which read; "Government, come out clearly on ESB..."

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