Workers of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) have ended their relationship with their mother union, the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU), over labour related issues.
At a press conference in Accra, the Chairman of the Supreme Consultative Council of COCOBOD, Alhaji Idriss Alhassan, accused the ICU and the General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) of failing to protect the welfare of COCOBOD workers.
“Some time ago we negotiated for a 30 percent salary increment with our management and because of the role ICU and GAWU played, they rather went and asked our management if they can pay the increment and pressed on them not to agree”, Alhassan said.
According to him, ICU fought against workers of COCOBOD when they were pushing for allowance to improve their lives, stating that there was no justification for the allowance.
“Can you imagine this, we are explaining to our superiors why we need allowances to improve our lives and the ICU and GAWU rather fight against us that we don’t deserve it”, he said.
“What broke the camel’s back is their effort to privatize a strategic company like the Cocoa Marketing Company,” he added.
Alhassan defended the workers decision to break away, saying the ICU itself broke away from the TUC to form the ICU.
"We are breaking away, the constitution guarantees freedom of association. The ICU itself broke away from the TUC to form the ICU. Nobody can force us to join an association we do not want to belong to… we are now the Cocoa Industry Workers Union,” he said.
But ICU said the move could create a labour burst and frustrate labour negotiation with government.
According to Kingsley Ofei-Nkansah, General Secretary of GAWU, the break way is nothing short of fraud.
He also accused the leadership of COCOBOD of fueling the breakaway for their selfish gains.
The ICU is however challenging the decision of the workers to leave the union at the Human Rights Court in Accra.
According to the ICU, the decision of the executive of the Union of COCOBOD if allowed to stand would amount to a breach of the fundamental human rights of its members and the ICU as a whole.
It further claimed that the executives of of the COCOBOD workers Union took the sthe decision without the approval of their members.
The case has been adjourned to March 3, 2016, by which time lawyers of both parties are expected to file their addresses for the case commence in earnest.