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03.03.2006 Business & Finance

Taisei agrees to give workers pay rise

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Abonko (C/R), March 3, GNA - Taisei Company Limited, a Japanese Road Construction firm implementing the Malam - Yamoransa trunk road project, on Wednesday agreed to give 18.5 per cent pay increase to workers of the company with effect from March 1.

In addition, the Management of the Company also agreed to provide the workers with helmets, groves, Wellington boots and other protective working gears by the middle of March 2006 to protect them against health hazards associated with their work.

Nana Ato-Arthur, Deputy Central Regional Minister, announced these when he addressed the workers after he had met the Management and Leaders of the Company's workforce of about 1,500 at Abonko, near Mankessim.

The meeting followed a six-hour demonstration which preceded industrial action initiated by the workers to back their demand for better pay and service conditions.

Nana Atoh-Arthur further stated that the Management had also agreed to enter into negotiations with the Leaders after the first two key issues which had been agreed upon by the two sides were resolved This include, dust allowance for earthmoving workers and heat allowance for Asphalt group, institution of redundancy pay for all categories of workers in the Company, payment of medical bills and overtime allowance among other things.

Nana Atoh-Arthur who had earlier in the day been prevented by the aggrieved workers from entering the yard of the Company, appealed to the workers to call off of their industrial action and to resume work in the interest of the national while efforts were being made to address issues bothering their welfare and general well-being.

To a question, the Deputy Regional Minister said the financial support offered Ghana by Japanese Government for the rehabilitation of the Malam -Yamoransa road did not mean that employees working on the project should not be given better pay.

Leaders of the workers told newsmen that some of the highest paid field worker of the Company received between 600,000 cedis and 800,000 cedis a month while others were paid between 400,000 cedis and 500,000 cedis a month.

They maintained that there was no bargaining agreement covering workers of the firm, stressing that advances that were given to injured workers in the course of their duties were deducted from their pay at the end of the month.

Mr Gariba Mohammed, Union, Chairman; Mr Charles Adjei and Mr Alfred Nketsiah who represented the workers confirmed the trauma which the workers were going through and called on the Government to do something about their plight immediately to facilitate smooth implementation of the second phase of the project linking Apam Junction and Yamoransa Takoradi trunk road at the outskirts of Biriwa. Earlier, Mr Gariba Dortsey, Public Relations Officer of Taisei, had informed the press that TORMAT and BABASAN companies limited were solely responsible for the general well-being of the workers because Taisei had entered into an accord with the two companies to that effect. He explained that TORMAT and BABASAN had been tasked to recruit and provide staff for Taisei.

Mr Gariba, Mr Adjei and Mr Nketsiah have collectively pledged to do all within their power to ensure that the workers returned to work. 3