Wednesday, September 27, 2017

PUWU To Sue Govt Over Refusal To Pay Redundancy Package To ECG Workers

12:59:00 PM

Public Utility Workers Union (PUWU), mother body of the staff of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), will on this Friday, September 29, 2017 file a writ at an Accra High Court against government over its intended move to privatise ECG.

The workers also revealed their intention to stage a massive demonstration today against the new concession agreement the government has entered into with a private entity.

According to the union, the current concession agreement did not make provision for the payment of redundancy packages to ECG workers in the event the government succeeds in handing over ECG to a private entity to manage.

Utility service workers, especially ECG workers together with some stakeholders in the past objected to the concession arrangement, which is part of the $498.2 million the US governments Millennium Challenge Compact II programme aimed at improving the countrys power sector, which has been bedevilled with managerial and operational inefficiencies.

Despite several stakeholder engagements by government to allow for a private concessionaire to run the operations of the state-owned power distributor under the agreement, the workers union seemed not to be satisfied with the agreement.

Speaking in an interview with Today yesterday after an emergency meeting held at the Eastern regional Office of ECG, Local Chairman of PUWU, Mr. Abraham Lincoln confirmed that they were preparing to take the matter to court for redress.

According to him, the absence of the severance package component in the concession agreement violates the labour laws and the conditions of service under which the workers were employed.

He noted that if government was going ahead with the concession, then we must do what the law says.

Mr. Lincoln stressed that the staff of ECG are entitled to be paid their severance packages and you cant use any thought or any principle to say that were not going to pay anything because were moving you and youll have to continue to work; what people are legitimately entitled should not be denied them.

that one, we say well not accept that. If it comes to the crunch and we have to even go to the court, were preparing and well take the matter to court, he told Today.

He added: Once you move from ECG to the private sector, youre no longer a staff of ECG, and the law says that, where any arrangement will lead to the termination of employment relationship, under section 65 of the Labour Act, youre supposed to be paid the person severance.

but so far in all the arrangement, nobody is talking about payment of severance to ECG staff but this is a legal issue and well not just keep quiet. That one well assert our right through every legal means possible.

Mr. Lincoln further reiterated the unions opposition on the concession agreement in its current form, stating that government should rather resort to a Joint-venture approach to create a win-win situation for the private concessionaire and the Ghanaian public

We idea that, the option of a joint-venture with ECG partnering with a private operator to bring reforms would have been the best way to go around many of the negatives with the concession, he stated.

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