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25.11.2005 General News

EPA staffs reject calls to resume work

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Accra, Nov. 25, GNA - Workers of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Friday said they had embarked on a sit-down strike contrary to the position of the Leaders of the Local Union of the Public Service Workers Union.

The workers, who had gathered on their premises, said they would not work until their grievances had been addressed. They said the Board Chairman of the Agency, Okyenhene Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Paynin had relayed a message to them that an emergency board meeting would be held on issues relating to their grievance on December 5, 2005.

"Until 5th December when that meeting is held and a positive outcome is communicated to us, we are not going back to work. "We demand that representatives from the TUC and the Senior Staff Association be part of that meeting."

The Union Leaders had issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon calling off the strike after they had met the Deputy Minister of Environment and Science, Dr Ghyesika Agambila, who promised that their grievances would be put across to the Government for redress as soon as possible.

However, when the decision to resume work was put to a vote on Thursday, only four people were in favour, sources at EPA told GNA. On Wednesday morning the workers embarked on a demonstration to demand better service conditions. They locked up the main entrance to their offices and tied red bands around the gate and the pillars. Some of the workers were ringing bells and shouting: "No work! No work!"

They carried placards some of which read: "Ghanaians Wake Up, Make The Environment Key Agenda For Election 2008"; "EPA Is Suffering From Brain Drain" and "No More Lip Service".

Mr Prince Hodo, Secretary to the Senior Staff Association, told the He said the workers had earlier petitioned the Management, the Board and the Government about their conditions of service but to no avail.

The grievances of the staff include the fact that before 1993 EPA belonged to the analogous organizations like the Standard Boards, Atomic Energy, Ghana Institute of Management and Public administration and Council for Scientific and Industrial Research but they were detached from such institutions and given a broader mandate to regulate and enforce environmental laws.

The workers said EPA till date did not have an identity and they got salary hikes only when the Government announced increments and even that they did not get the chance to negotiate.

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