17.05.2004 General News

Ex-SCC Workers besiege Finance Ministry

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Accra, May 17, GNA - The timely intervention of the Greater Accra Regional Police Operation Officer, on Monday saved the Finance Ministry from attack by a group of angry Former Workers of the defunct State Construction Corporation (SCC).

The placard-bearing Former Workers had besieged the entrance of the Ministry of Finance over the delay in the payment of over 37 billion cedis owed them by Government in severance awards.

The mob agreed with Chief Superintendent of Police, Mr Jonathan Yakubu, who reasoned with them to have the constitutionally given five days prior notice to the Police before embarking on the demonstration or they risked being arrested for unlawful assembly.

The group later dispersed upon information from Dr Anthony Akoto-Osei, Deputy Finance Minister, that they could come back on Wednesday to meet the Chief Director of the Ministry, who was handling the issue but was away on official assignment.

The ex-workers, who were retrenched in 1997, following the divestiture of the Corporation won a court judgement over the failure of Government to adhere to the provisions of their Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The Government paid all 1,280 affected workers a flat amount, irrespective of the number of years of service each of them had rendered to the Corporation.

The unsatisfied workers took the case to court and the court ordered the Government to pay a total settlement of over 37 billion cedis. Negotiations among the Ministry of Finance, the Solicitor of the former SCC workers and their representatives agreed that the amount should be paid in three tranches. The first instalment of 45 per cent was to be settled by the end of last March, according to a letter from the Ministry of Finance to the affected workers.

The spokesman for the group, Mr Samuel Nii-Adjei Duah told the Ghana News Agency that they were not out to cause mayhem but to press for what was due them.

He said more than 300 of their colleagues had died from economic hardship while others had become destitute and their children had dropped out of school.

Mr Duah said they would use all legitimate means to have the money paid to them.

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