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05.12.2005 General News

SG-SSB workers on an indefinite strike

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Accra, Dec. 5, GNA - Staff of the Accra and Tema branches of the SG-SSB Bank on Monday embarked on an indefinite strike action to back their demand for the right to unionise and for better working conditions.

The workers on Thursday warned the Management of the intended strike action should they fail to sign documents from the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) to legalise the intended unionisation, to enable them to negotiate for better conditions of service. When the GNA visited some of the Bank's branches, clients had formed long queues waiting for the Banks to open. Negotiations between the Management of the Bank and Labour had broken down.

A source from the Union told the GNA that the Management had consistently snubbed officials of the ICU and had refused to meet them. He said working condition had deteriorated since the Government sold the Bank to the French company and executives of the intended union had been transferred to break their front. The source said basic facilities including car loans had been cancelled while interest rate on existing ones had been astronomically increased.

He alleged that the Senior Staff Association of the Bank, who found the new Union as a threat was fuelling the situation and had persistently cajoled the Management not to sign the labour document. The National Labour Commission (NLC) on Wednesday warned that the intended industrial action was 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. But Mr Napoleon Kpoh, ICU General Secretary, at a press conference last Wednesday, defended the intended strike action by the workers. The Management and ICU are currently in a meeting to halt the strike.