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01.11.2004 General News

VALCO issues final cheques to employees

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Tema, Nov. 1, GNA - Atmosphere at the plant of the Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO) on Monday appeared very quiet as majority of the workers had started their leave following the take-over of the company by the government.
All the 255 workers have subsequently been issued with cheques for their end-of-service benefits totalling 10 million dollars, Dr Charles Mensah, Resident Director told newsmen at the plant. Last Friday, parliament, voted for the approval of the agreement between the government and Kaiser Aluminium and Chemical Corporation. By the approval, government was now entitled to purchase 90 percent of the VALCO Limited from Kaiser Aluminium at the cost of 18 million dollars. A visit to the plant showed that a skeleton staff were seen in the administration block and some at vantage points of the plant.
The Director, however, did not disclose how much each worker takes home but said the amount is according to the number of years served with the company.
He said 70 out of the 255 workers have been retained for the transition period to take up maintenance work and security services while the last of the ten expatriates leaves at the end of the month.
The Resident Director stressed that when the company comes into operation the redeployed workers would be given the priority for employment.
"We have trained them to become skilful so we would not leave them and take fresh hands", Dr Mensah assured the workers, saying that in view of that, management has taken their particulars for easy communication.
Dr Mensah said of the 18 million dollar sale, 10 million dollars was for payment of workers ESB, eight million dollars to pay salaries from January to October with a breakdown of 1.5 million dollars a month.
The Resident Director indicated that three companies, Aluminium Company of America (ALCOA), which currently has 10 percent shares, BHP Billtion of Australia and Ruseal Aluminium of Russia have expressed interest in taking over the company.
He said the interesting story about the companies coming in is the fact that they would purchase the raw materials from the country and process it within.
Dr Mensah described the "New VALCO" as a very potential venture since the raw material, being bauxite would be purchased from the country at Kibi and Nyinahini both in the Eastern Region, refined and smelter at the plant.
"With this, the government would be completing the three cycle vision that Dr Kwame Nkrumah, President of the first Republic had for the nation".
According to him there are about 700 million tonnes of deposits of bauxite available at Kibi and Nyinahini with which VALCO could utilise. He said since aluminium has several uses the issue should be seen in a broader perspective as national objective that would generate revenue for the nation.
On VALCO's assets, Dr Mensah said, while the hospital would be run on part-time basis for which the redeployed are still entitled to, items like the equipment and the VALCO Trust Fund would remain intact.

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