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24.11.2008 Business & Finance

GDLC Workers Strike

By Daily Guide

UNION WORKERS of the Ghana Dock Labour Company Limited (GDLC) in Tema have decided to withdraw their membership from the Maritime & Dock Workers Union (MDWU).

The workers who expressed discontentment about how the management of the company had been interfering with the appointment of representatives to the MDWU, last Friday embarked on a demonstration at the premises of the company in Tema.

They as well embarked on a sit-down strike after unfruitful persuasions to press home their demand to join the National Union of Harbour Employees (NUHE), also in Tema.

Some of the workers, whom CITY & BUIINESS GUIDE spoke to on anonymity, indicated that GDLC management had been interfering in the appointment of union representatives to MDWU, denying them the freedom to make a choice.

Additionally, they alleged that workers were maltreated, dismissed wrongfully and remunerated inadequately.

The workers intimated that owing to the foregoing problems, they notified management of their intention to part ways with MDU but management, not pleased with the idea, continued to thwart their efforts; hence the strike action.    

In the process, one Alex Osei, a worker of the company who openly declared his desire to become a member of NUHE was allegedly abused physically by some union leaders when he was invited into their office.

Osei was said to have lodged a formal complaint to the Harbour Police Station where he was given a medical form to go for a medical checkup at a hospital in Tema.

In the heat of the strike action, the workers prevented Nii Komieteh Botchway, Executive Director of the company from entering the company premises.

It later took the combined efforts of some military men and police personnel to get Mr. Botchway into his office.

This paper also gathered that one Ali Haruna Issah, a worker had his salary frozen for six months as punishment for persuading his colleague workers to abandon the MDWU for the NUHE.

Addressing the workers under a shed within the premises of the company, Mr. Botchway explained that every employee had the right to join any union or association of his or her choice, adding that management would not prevent them from doing so if they so wished.

The executive director was accompanied by some police personnel to the venue to address the workers. He assured them that a four-man committee would soon be set up to look into the matter.

Mr Botchway pointed out that workers would not be dismissed except in instances of theft and fighting.

He assured the workers that management would do their maximum best to address their grievances as soon as possible and pleaded with the striking workers to resume work immediately.

From Kenneth Yankah, Tema