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24.09.2005 Business & Finance

Sell the company and share the proceeds -GTMC workers

By Public Agenda
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As the woes of the country's textile industry deepen, some players in the industry are kicking each other's feet.

Employees of the Ghana Textile Manufacturing Company, (GTMC), have dared the management of the company to declare a state of redundancy and pay them off. But management says it does not have the money to pay them off. The likely option would be to sell of the company's assets and pay by installments. GTMC which had a workforce of about two thousand some years back, now has a little over two hundred. The balance sheet of the company is said to be in the red and only surviving on renting out its warehouse.

The GTMC workers have had several sittings with the management of the company to negotiate for salary increases. The workers earlier demand was for 50% while management offered 5%. After painstaking negotiations, the employers arrived at 15% to save time, whiles the workers are agitating for 40%.

The current minimum wage of the company is at ¢662,000. Management claims the once vibrant textile company is equally suffering under the current textile crisis.

At a workers union meeting at Tema, the workers demanded, “if management say they are running at a loss and cannot give us the percentage we are asking for, then they should pay us off. What is the point to remain in business and make losses?”

However, management insists that either the employees accept the 15% offer, or they declare a deadlock and go to the mediation table of the National Labour Commission.

Sources suspect that some workers who are due for retirement could be inciting the employees in active service to give such an ultimatum, because redundancy package far outweigh retirement package under the bargaining agreement. But analysts in the industry argue that the current crisis in the textile business is not the best, therefore it would be best to resign if they so wish as workers cannot force management to declare a state of redundancy. Also they deduce that the cost of labour in the textile industry in Ghana is high, compared to other countries.

In their opinion, if policies had been favourable, such circumstances would have been avoided. They said government urgently needs to act to save the textile industry which employs a chunk of the nation's workforce from total collapse.

Meanwhile, the Textile, Garment and Leather Employees union of Ghana, (TEGLEU), has cautioned the workers to be careful with their demands, in order not to defeat the effort being made by the national union and other partners to come out with a solution to the industrial crisis. “They should exercise restraint so as not kill the hen that is laying the eggs.”

The Tripartite Sub-Committee of the National Tripartite Committee, which was given the task to come out with proposals to save the industry is yet to come out with its report.

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