About 1,000 railway workers will be sacked due to management's inability to pay some workers.
Tension is brewing in the Ghana Railway Company (GRC) over management's decision to lay off a total of about one thousand (1,000) railway workers across the country.
The move is to enable the company operate effectively and efficiently.
According to grapevine sources at the GRC, ever since the deputy Minister of Transport, Mrs. Joyce Bawa Mogtari, gave the hint on January 30, 2015 about government's intention to retrench about 1,000 workers, the workers had not been paid for the past three months (from January to March 2015).
The sources told Today that Mrs. Mogtari disclosed this during a sensitisation workshop on the Railway Master Plan of the Ghana Railway Development Authority and Team Engineers held in Kumasi in the Ashanti region stressing that the retrenchment will ensure the rebirth of the railway industry.
Touching more on the retrenchment, Mrs. Mogtari who was flanked by the Board Chairman of the Ghana Railway Authority (GRA), Alhaji Ibrahim Adams, and the then deputy Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr. Joseph Yamin, was reported to have added that workers who were due for retirement would be sorted out and those whose services were not needed would be compensated.
“Government knows the enormous benefits of the railway sector to the country. The project which is in six phases will see about 4,000km railway constructed in the country within the next 33 years in a project which will cost about 21 billion US Dollars,” she explained.
That pronouncement by the deputy minister, according to our sources, did not go down well with the workers who fear to be the casualties of the retrenchment exercise as some of them have resorted to spiritual intervention to prevent government and management of the company from executing such plan.
That worrying situation, according to our sources, has greatly affected the output of the company as some workers go to work without virtually doing anything.
Today was told that the railway workers who would not be affected by the retrenchment exercise were also seriously planning to embark on a strike in April 21, 2015 until the staff salary review processes were finalised by the government.
According to sources, the intended strike by the railway workers will affect the two passenger trains, from Accra to Nsawam and Accra to Tema.
The sources told this paper that a letter dated May 22, 2014 from the Office of the President and signed by the then Chief of Staff, Mr. Douglas Prosper Bani, indicated that President John Dramani Mahama directed the Transport Ministry to ensure the implementation of the worker’s salary review by the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC).
According to sources, since President Dramani Mahama's directive, there had been no response and that the workers could not cope with the current economic challenges, hence their call for an immediate action to address the low level of their salaries.
Our sources stated that on October 31, 2012 the Railway Workers Union met with President Dramani Mahama and raised concerns about their salaries and the revamping of the railway sector in the country.
They asserted that as at 2012 till date the Managing Director (MD) of the company was receiving GHc986.00 while labourers received GHc163.00 as their basic salaries.
The sources averred that through negotiations with government in November 2012, 25% salary increment was approved while the FWSC was tasked to review the salary structure in addition to a promise to work on the Western Rail Line.
But yet, the sources said nothing had been done till date.
The workers said it was their expectation that the revamping of the sector would address the decline of the sector and the hauling of minerals which would result in the company being self-sufficient.”
They intimated that those promises were not fulfilled thereby leaving the company to continually decline day-by-day, alleging that buildings of the company were being auctioned by the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT).
The sources pointed out that the workers continue to work under strenuous conditions due to lack of tools, accessories and spare parts for effective and efficient work.
Earlier, Today's attempt to seek further clarification from the Minister of Transport, Mrs. Dzifa Attivor, and the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Ghana Railway Company failed.
Source: Today Newspaper