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24.01.2005 General News

ICU to participate in negotiations for workers' salaries

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Accra, Jan. 24, GNA - Mr Napoleon Kpoh, General Secretary of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU), on Monday said the Union would participate fully in the negotiations for salaries and working conditions for workers belonging to the Union.

He dismissed the use of violence in solving problems with employers saying the Leadership of the Union would negotiate with employers outside government on the best service conditions for workers. However, it would not sit down for any employer to take workers for granted. Mr Kpoh told a meeting of members of local unions of the Accra Region of the mother union that the ICU would be present at negotiations for the national minimum wage.

"The ICU will be a strong player in the Tripartite Committee.... When it comes to national minimum wage, we'll be there," the ICU General Secretary said.

Mr Kpoh put the strength of the ICU at 65,000 in the formal sector, but he gave the assurance that the Union would not resort to violence by using its numerical strength to address differences with other organisations.

Following its departure from the Trades Union Congress (TUC) it has been asked by the TUC to vacate the Hall of Trade Unions Building in Accra. However, the ICU has maintained that the Hall was not the sole property of the TUC, but that it belonged to all workers organisations. Electricity to the offices of the ICU, which was cut have since last Thursday been restored following a Police order to the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).

Mr Kpoh said the ICU did not owe the ECG any money.

He said the doors of the ICU were open to individuals and organisations interested in joining it since the current Constitution of the country allowed for freedom of association and recognition of all organised labour organisations.

The General Secretary said a Public Relations outfit was a top priority on the agenda of the ICU, adding that more qualified staff would be engaged to beef up the outfit.

Mr Kpoh said the case of the ICU had been misrepresented and asked its members to be prayerful for the truth to come out. He said the Leadership of ICU would state its position on the End of Service Benefit later and entreated members to pay their project levy for the completion of a seven-story building project at Kokomlemle in Accra.

Mr Solomon Kotei, Deputy General Secretary (Administration), said there was no political dimension to the problem between the ICU and TUC.

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