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12.07.2004 General News

EC workers lock out NCCE officials

By GNA

Accra, July 12, GNA - Workers of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) were locked out on Monday by enraged staff of the Electoral Commission (EC) as they embarked on a strike action to demand a 100 per cent salary increase.

The two institutions share the same premises, but the EC workers, who claimed authority over the place, locked all entries to the premises to back their strike.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, the NCCE Chairman Mr Laary Bimi, who looked dejected appealed to the Government to relocate the NCCE.

He said: "We have been squatters for all these years and deserve our own premises to avoid the frustration of being locked out again. We went through this in 2000."

Mr Bimi said strike actions are constitutional rights of workers, but it was wrong for Union members to use them to hold others hostage, especially when those they were holding hostage had nothing to do with the strike.

Mr Bimi advised workers not use Election 2004 as a springboard to hold the Nation hostage through demands of salary adjustments. He urged workers to use diplomatic negotiations to resolve industrial disputes instead of resorting to strike actions and lockout of officials.

Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, EC Chairman, in an interview told the GNA, that the Commission was not aware of the action of workers as they were attending a stakeholders' review meeting in Kumasi.

He said the Commission on hearing the news on Monday detailed Mr David Kangah, Deputy Chairman in Charge of Finance and Administration, to talk to the workers.

The EC workers wearing red dresses and red bands sang war songs as they demonstrated their anger and frustration at their poor salaries and condition of service.

They shouted: "No Provocation, No Confrontation"; "We no go sit down make them cheat us everyday"; "EC workers also deserve fair share of national cake"; "The Kingmakers deserve better remuneration."

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