Tema, Feb. 01, GNA - Management of Cocoa Processing Company (CPC) at Tema on Tuesday closed down the old cocoa factory for rehabilitation works.
The rehabilitation works would take about 18 months therefore; most of the workers at the factory constructed in 1963 would be engaged in the confectionary factory and the new plant.
Mr Richard Amarh Tetteh, Managing Director of CPC who announced this at a press conference at Tema said few workers would proceed on leave but they would enjoy all benefits.
However, he said at the end of negotiations by April this year, about 203 out of the 600 workers would be declared redundant. Those to be affected are in the Laundry, Canteen, Compound Services, Security and Civil Works departments.
The rehabilitation works would involve civil works, dismantling, removal and upgrading of some equipment and installation of new ones to upgrade and modernization the company.
Mr Tetteh said on completion in April next year, the company was expected to process 35,000 metric tonnes of cocoa as against its present capacity of 25,000 metric tonnes.
He said; "When the old factory becomes modernized we may not need all the workers. Operation of the new plant and equipment would require few manual handling and less labour, technically termed Programmable Logic Control Systems (PLCS)."
Mr Tetteh said about 17 billion cedis would be needed to pay severance awards and entitlements of the retrenched staff and gave the assurance that the labour rules and regulations would be followed to avoid problems adding; "The exercise would be carried out with human face." CPC contracted 22 million euros loan from a syndicate of banks led by Barclays bank and other sources to finance the expansion programme. It would enable the company to increase its cocoa throughput capacity from 25,000 metric tonnes to 65,000 metric tonnes.
Phase one of the project which was entirely a new plant inaugurated in November last year, has the capacity to process 30,000 metric tonnes of cocoa beans and has achieved its target of processing about 70 metric tonnes of cocoa beans a day.
The company manufactures cocoa liquor, butter, cake, powder, chocolate and cocoa confectionery.