Four workers of the Ghana National Gas Company (Ghana Gas) have been sacked for going on strike illegally.
Apart from the four workers who have been outrightly dismissed, the appointment of nine others have also been terminated. They, however, have the option to reapply.
Furthermore, 12 of the workers have been suspended for six months, 11 for four months, nine for two months and one person for a month. All the affected workers will not be paid for the period they will be on suspension.
In a statement to the Daily Graphic, the management of Ghana Gas explained that the workers bypassed the international dispute resolution mechanisms and carried out their plans against all advice; hence, the disciplinary measures against them under the company’s human resource policies and conditions of service manual they signed.
The statement explained further that staging a demonstration without following the appropriate procedure of the Labour Act 2003, or the company’s manual, was illegal.
When contacted, the Chief Executive Officer of the company, Dr Sipa-Adjah Yankey, explained to the Daily Graphic that on August 26, 2016, a section of the employees laid down their tools, abandoned the gas-processing plant and took to the streets of Atuabo.
They were implored
Dr Yankey said the act was carried out in spite of repeated requests from the sector minister, the Eastern Regional Traditional Council, the Board Chairman and management to the workers to abort the strike because the issues they cited were not as they perceived.
“At the time, the workers raised concerns about the Volta River Authority’s indebtedness to Ghana Gas and the revocation of the mandate given to Ghana Gas to build the pipeline from Aboadze to Tema, which were explained to them.”
He said it was surprising to the management that “this group of workers suddenly changed their concerns from management issues to improvement in welfare and expired fire extinguishers, which were totally false.”
The CEO said management was also shocked that most of the pictures of fire extinguishers submitted by the employees and circulated in the media were of an old and decommissioned batch used by Sinopec during the construction phase of the project.
“After carefully following the disciplinary procedure, the management of Ghana Gas is left with no option than to sanction the affected staff, which ranges from suspension without pay to termination of appointment,” he stated.
Dr Yankey said the company complied with industry practice and ensured that the striking workers, just as their colleagues, were provided with free accommodation, transport, janitorial and house-keeping services, and three square meals each day.
Meanwhile, the management of Ghana Gas says it is committed to ensuring that such issues do not occur again in its bid to build a world-class company and a disciplined workforce.