Tema, March 10, GNA - The management of Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) has called for an amendment to portions of the new Labour Act to favour the maritime industry in the country. Mr Ben Owusu-Mensah, Director General of GPHA noted that some aspects of Act 651 of the Labour Law 2003 making it mandatory to make a casual worker permanent after six months in service was not in the interest of the maritime industry and called on the legislators to consider its amendment.
He explained that by the International Labour law, a dockworker is casual because "he is only used when there is business."
The Director General made the call when briefing the Parliamentary Select Committee on Roads and Transport at Tema on Thursday, during a tour of the Tema port.
He said GPHA was worried because it was faced with the law where a High Court had ordered management of GPHA to pay huge sums of monies to 4,195 casual employees for failing to pay them salaries as expected of permanent staff.
"If we have to pay that huge amount the GPHA will go bankrupt," he stated, and appealed to Parliament to save the authority from disaster to sustain its operations.
Talking on situation at the port, Mr Owusu-Mensah admitted that there was congestion saying that though it was common with most ports over the world efforts were being made to get it decongested. He mentioned the Devanning area and the western gate car park that were under construction where vehicles and containers would be parked to ensure free movement within the port.
Currently, vehicular movement inside the port is being control as port users are made to park their vehicles at a car park outside and go to their places of work with shuttle buses.
Mr Samuel Obodai, MP for Agona West and Chairman of the Committee, said together with the Constitutional and Legal committee they would find a solution to the labour issue in respect to the maritime industry. Mr Gorden Anim, Director of Tema Port said, traffic had increased tremendously at the port. 10 March 06