This is coming after Expresso lost its licence to operate earlier this year. However, the ex-employees said the defunct company owes them several months of salary, as well as defaulting in paying workers’ SSNIT contribution.

The workers, through their lawyer, have petitioned the National Labour Commission to compel management of the company to settle the arrears.

Speaking to Accra-based Citi FM, Eugenia Affum, who has worked with the company for 19 years said she is going through hard times because she has not been paid for 5 years.

“For the past 5 years, I’ve not received any salary. We are going through hell. Initially, we were going to work but 2 years ago we realized we were just spending money on transportation so we had to stop. Now, they are not paying for SSNIT or any other benefits. I’ve wasted my youthful energy and we want our money.”

“Most staff went for a loan from the bank and those loans have not been paid because salaries are not forthcoming. As a result, our names are on credit bureau. Those unpaid loans are outstanding. How do we pay them,” another worker said.

Meanwhile, another female worker who claimed to have worked with the company for 24 years said she has been forced to relocate to her hometown because she can no longer afford her rent

“I’ve worked with the company for 24 years now and my landlady is ejecting me from her house. I don’t get money to pay my children’s school fees, even money for food I don’t have.”

Background

In 1993, Celltel Limited was licensed to provide telecommunications services. The brand name Celltel later became Kasapa, and further renamed Expresso.

The license was for Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS), which is an analogue network on a frequency 850MHz, but it was converted to Code Division Multiple Access CDMA 2000 1X in 2005 within the same frequency.

When the company's name changed to Kasapa Telecoms Limited, it was granted a Mobile Cellular Licence on December 2, 2004, for a period of 15 years. The license was scheduled to expire on December 1, 2019.

However, the NCA notified the company of a number of breaches of its licensing conditions. They were first given notice of intention to terminate the Mobile Cellular Licence, and termination was subsequently carried out on March 15, 2018.

The regulator explained that the revocation was done pursuant to Section 13 of the Electronic Communications Act, 2008 (Act 775), citing a number of reasons for the revocation.

The reasons for the revocation include the default of payment of annual regulatory fees since 2014, inability to offer licensed services and coverage obligations since 2014, and engagement in anticompetitive practices by terminating/transiting international traffic as domestic traffic on other networks (SIMBOX fraud).

The other reasons were Expresso's failure to settle fees for usage of microwave frequencies, inability to meet financial obligations to other telecom operators in respect of Interconnection payments, and failure to meet financial obligations to Porting XS, the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) Service Provider.

According to the NCA, Expresso also switched off its network without due notice to the regulator, adding that as far as it was concerned, Expresso does not have any subscription since the network is no longer in operation.

"Due to the existence of MNP, Kasapa subscribers have the choice to port their 028 numbers to networks of their choice," it said.