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01.12.2005 General News

NLC warns SSB workers against intended strike action

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Accra, Dec.1, GNA- The National Labour Commission (NLC) on Wednesday warned that the intended industrial action by the Senior Staff of SG-SSB to back their demand to unionise is illegal with serious consequences as prescribed by the labour law.

The NLC said the workers negotiations with Management had not broken down nor reached a deadlock for the matter to be referred to it. A statement issued by Mr J.K. Bapuuroh, Executive Secretary of NLC said it had been informed by the Management of the Bank of the intended strike action being facilitated by the Industrial and Commercial Union (ICU) divisional branch.

"The Management of the Bank has further notified the Commission about complaints by the divisional union of the ICU that the recent transfers of some of its executive officers were acts of victimisation." The statement said the NLC would only intervene if mediation and possible voluntary arbitration should fail.

Commenting on the transfer of the union leaders it said the stand of the workers derived no authority from the labour law that workers holding executive positions in the various unions should not be transferred during their tenure of office.

"Section eight of the Labour Law defines the rights of employers to include the right to employ, discipline, transfer, promote and terminate the employment of the employer," the statement said.

The NLC advised workers to make it a duty to study and understand the labour law and to be bold to question their union leaders who would want to influence them to embark on strike, whether they have exhausted the dispute settlement mechanism?

"The Commission warns that if they allow themselves to be misled by their union leaders to embark on illegal strike, they risk having their employment terminated without notice for breach of contract and they will have no protection under the law."

At a press conference on Tuesday the ICU General Secretary, Mr Napoleon Kpoh read a statement defending the intended strike action by the workers.

It said the action was in accordance with their rights to protest against the alleged intimation by Management.

"The decision of the workers to take strike action to defend the provisions of the Constitution, which guaranteed them the right to form or join a union, is fully endorsed by the National Union." It said for the past 10 months, Management of the Bank had used untenable excuses in an attempt to delay and consequently deny the workers their right to fully unionise as a means of promoting their economic and social interest.

Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency Mr Kpoh explained that negotiations between the Management of the Bank and Labour had broken down and that for three days "we tried vainly to sit down. The bank snubbed us and refused to meet us". He asked: "What other alternative is opened to the workers?

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