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Cocobod demo: Workers demand Opuni’s dismissal

Members of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) at the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) embarked on a demonstration on Thursday May 12 in Accra and later handed a petition to the Employment and Labour Relations Ministry, with another addressed to President John Dramani Mahama, to intervene in what they have described as mismanagement and corruption by CEO Dr Stephen Opuni.

Scores of the workers clad in red besieged the office of the Employment and Labour Relations Ministry to table their request.

Some of the messages on the placards read: “Corruption at COCOBOD”, “Dr Opuni stop destroying COCOBOD”, “Sharp decline of cocoa industry under Dr Opuni’s tenure.”

It would be recalled that workers belonging to the ICU and the General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) accused Dr Opuni and management of perpetuating dubious deals that had led to the loss of millions to the government.

They revealed at a press conference in Accra on Friday, 29 April that COCOBOD had secretly sold cocoa worth $10million last year, alone.

The General Secretary of GAWU, Kingsley Nkansah, has, therefore, asked President John Dramani Mahama to institute investigations into the matter.

The protest on Thursday was to press home their demand as they also pointed out that workers who have called the CEO to order have been unfairly transferred indiscriminately.

The workers also indicated that the CEO had failed to negotiate workers’ salaries with the leadership of GAWU and ICU.

ICU workers from the cocoa sector in Tema, the Eastern Region, and Takoradi, joined their colleagues in Accra for the protests.

“We are here today to let the president know that the two national unions are saying, ‘Enough is enough’; if he is not respecting the Presidency nor this office [Employment and Labour Relations Ministry] of Cabinet status, we shall accordingly advise ourselves,” General Secretary of the ICU, Solomon Kotei stated.

Meanwhile Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Baba Jamal, who received the two separate petitions, assured the protestors that the ministry would treat their concerns with “all the attention it deserves”.

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