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20.01.2006 General News

GPHA ordered to pay compensation to ex-employees

By GNA

Tema, Jan. 20, GNA - The precincts of a Tema High Court (A) was full of joy and merry-making when 4,195 former employees of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) went into frenzy after the court's ruling in their favour.

The court presided over by Mr Justice Emmanuel Kwesi Mensah ordered GPHA to pay each of them five million cedis as compensation for breach of the Authorities' Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Mr Justice Mensah in addition, ordered GPHA to pay 10 million cedis for every year of service to each of them after the 150 days they were employed as casual workers.

He said it was unlawful and illegal for GPHA to keep the former employees as casual workers after six months of their employment. "They were qualified to be employed by the Authority as permanent workers but they refused until the redundancy date," He added. The presiding Judge said GPHA violated the rights of the former employees to equal pay for equal work stated in Article 24 (1) of the 1992 Constitution and in addition, violated Article 17 (2 and 3) of the Constitution, which was against discrimination.

"The Constitution is against discrimination of all kinds by GPHA paying them lower salaries and wages even though they did the same work as permanent workers all year round, which also violates their economic rights," Mr Jusitce Mensah said.

Mr Justice Mensah also ordered GPHA to give the former employees who qualified, three million cedis for rent allowance, two million cedis for medicals, two bags of rice and two gallons of cooking oil as well as bonuses.

In addition; he ordered that the former employees should be paid 1.5 million cedis for conveyance and five months salaries as 'hand shake' as well as five million cedis compensation for each severance by GPHA.

Mr Justice Mensah said GPHA should pay interests on all payments at the current commercial bank rate from October 1, 2002 to January 18, 2006, the day of the ruling. He awarded 10 million cedis cost against GPHA. The former employees filed a writ of summons against GPHA on July 10, 2003 that their services were terminated without due notice as required by law in September 2002 as a result of re-organisation of the GPHA.

In their statements of claim signed by their solicitor, Mr Albert Adaare they stated that, prior to the severance of the employer-employee relationship between the parties, they worked for GPHA as non-permanent workers for periods ranging from one year to over 10 years of continuous service from day to day all year round. They contended that on several occasions by their acts and petitions drew GPHA's attention to its unlawful, illegal, discriminatory and unfair conduct, but GPHA told them that it was not bound to compensate them for the severance of their employment because GPHA had no contract with them. 20 Jan.06

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