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06.01.2005 Business & Finance

Severance Package For Ghana Airways Workers Still Undecided

By Joy Oline

As the process towards the formation of a new national carrier to replace Ghana Airways continue one the biggest challenges that government has to deal with is how to say good-bye to the large number of employees of the beleaguered national carrier.

The decision to wind up the national carrier will no doubt come at some financial and social cost to the country.

Like most state-owned organisations Ghana Airways is over staffed running into some 1,500 employees and surely some of them would not find room in the operations of the new airline.

But the collective bargaining agreement stipulates that the workers must be compensated in the event that the company is folded up.

The challenge for government is therefore securing funds for the compensation or the severance award.

However the bone of contention remains the amount to be paid to each worker.

So far no agreement has been reached on what modalities to follow in paying the severance package.

The workers had initially constituted a negotiating team to discuss the issue with their management, but government frowned on that arrangement and instead requested for time to form a team to negotiate with the workers.

But while these issues are being resolved sources close to the workers told Joy Business Report that they would not go home until they receive their severance package.

Currently the workers are still considered in employment and are taking their salaries, while government is spending huge amounts to bring the new airline on board.

Meanwhile officials of Ghana International Airline are expected back in town later this month to continue with the preparations for the takeoff of the new airline.

Government would therefore have to expedite action on paying off the workers to avoid the added demands of maintaining the staff of Ghana airways while at same time running the new airline.

But the big question is whether government would want to or even can afford to part with billions of cedis to pay the severance package within the limited period.

For now the workers have decided to wait and watch after all they are doing some kind of work and taking something home at the end of the month.

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