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25.11.2005 General News

TUC urged to resolve impasse

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Accra, Nov. 25, GNA - Workers of the Forestry Commission (FC) on Friday appealed to the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC) to expedite action to resolve the impasse over their unionisation. At a press conference in Accra, Mr Justice Kwamina Asare, Chairman of an in-house union, said the delay in resolving the stalemate over whether the workers belonged to the General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) or to Timber and Woodworkers Union (TWU) was affecting negotiation for salary increases.

"Since the submission of the two Collective Bargaining Certificates, management of the FC has stalled all negotiations with the Union.

"The impasse has negatively affected the regular review of our salaries. We find the situation quite irritating but we do not want to do anything that will hurt the institution that we are determining to build."

Mr Asare said the Forestry Commission was not part of the agricultural sector and, therefore, urged GAWU to take its hand off the FC.

"The House Union of the FC affirms their decision not to join the GAWU and no amount of cohesion and intimidation will force us to change our decision to be with the Timber and Wood Workers Union family that we really belonged."

Mr Asare said the problem of workers belonging to two unions started with the enactment of Act 571 that sought to bring forestry related institutions under one umbrella, the Forestry Commission. He said before then, some of the institutions were with GAWU and others with TWU. However, an effort to merge workers under one union, which was the TWU that had the majority of the staff, had proved futile. He said GAWU continued to collect deductions from workers' salaries without their consent causing a lot of problems for the union leaders. Mr Asare, therefore, appealed to GAWU to put a stop to such an act and advised the TUC to put its house in order to forestall industrial unrest.