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25.08.2005 General News

GWCL workers were mislead to accept PSP-ISODEC


The lobby group, ISODEC Ghana has raised questions about staff lay offs at the Ghana Water Company.

ISODEC says workers of the company were deceived into accepting the redeployment exercise, which forms part of preparations for the involvement of the private sector in water production and distribution.

About 1,280 workers are to be laid off under the programme and the company has started distributing retrenchment letters to affected staff.

The campaign Director of ISODEC, Steve Manteaw told Joy News that the layoff will produce adverse social consequences.

He also questioned the viability of management contract for the privatization of water production.

“We are yet to be convinced that management contract is the way to deal with the problem in the water sector. If you look at the Ghana Airways scenario, at a time when it was on down slide we brought in Speed wing from the UK to try and revive it.

But at the time Speed wing left, they actually left Ghana Airways with more debts. There is also a history in paying workers what is due them. The workers have not been actually given a full picture. There is a lot of peddling of half truths which have made the workers welcome and embrace the redundancy thing in store for them,” he said.

Mr Manteaw also expressed doubts about whether the water privatization programme will resolve the challenges of water supply in the country.

“ We still have our reservations that it will resolve the problem in the water sector. Wee believe that the earlier lease arrangement was even better than the management contract because here the investors are not supposed to bring in any capital, they are brining in “know-how”.

It is an indictment on our management training institutions. We are going to continue to campaign against this process as a group and continue when the PSP takes off. It is not going to the end of our campaign but the beginning,” he said.

The company has finalized modalities to lay off 1,280 workers. An amount of $10 million is to be shared among the affected workers whose retrenchment letters and cheques for their severance awards and provident contributions will be issued to them next week.

A formula of two three quarter's month salary multiplied by the number of years served for both senior and junior staff below the age of 57 years had been agreed upon between management and representative of the workers, Public Utility Workers Union-PUWU.

Staff above 57 years, a different formula was adopted taking into consideration the number of years left for them to go on retirement and whether one was a senior or junior staff.

Those above 59 years would receive two weeks salary multiplied by the number of years served while those above 58 years would get three weeks salary multiplied by the number of years served.

In the junior staff category, staff who were 59 years would have a fixed amount of ¢10 million to be added to their two weeks salary multiplied by the number of years served.

Those who are 58 and 57 years will respectively receive a fixed amount of ¢10 million in addition to three weeks and five weeks salary multiplied by the number of years served.

Sources from the GWCL told Joy News the ¢10 million attached to their salaries was to beef up what it described as “meagre' amount” that each of the junior staff members in those categories was likely to get as a result of their very low salary levels.