Tema — The impasse between the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) Ghana and Avnash Industries Limited, producers of edible oil and plastic containers in Tema, has taken a new twist.
The Union last Thursday threatened to drag the company back to the National Labour Commission today, if it failed to comply with an NLC directive to allow 75 dismissed workers to resume work and respond to query letters the company wrote to them.
The Deputy General Secretary (Operations) ICU, Morgan Ayawine, addressing the affected employees last Thursday during a demonstration they embarked on to protest against non-compliance with the NLC decision, said: “On the basis of the NLC’s decision dated December 19, 2018, and by the tenets of the rule of law, we demand that management of Avnash comply with the decision and allow the workers to resume work without any conditionality or further delay.”
The dismissal followed the workers’ inability to go to work on December 7, 2018, (Farmers’ Day) as the purported information got to them very late on December 6, 2018, when they had almost closed from work.
The aggrieved workers clad in red and black apparels with red arm bands and head gears carrying placards, sang gospel songs amid drumming and dancing in front of the factory premises.
Some of the placards they carried read: “NLC let justice prevail”, “Statutory holidays must be respected”, “Overtime is not compulsory”, “Bring back the 75 workers unconditionally”, “NLC wake up, investors are tarnishing your image”, and “Ofosu Asamoah dangerous to NLC.”
One of the demonstrators, Richard Atsitogo, who engaged in a scuffle with the police was arrested and sent to the Community 2 Police Station.
Mr Ayawine said the practice of Avnash Industries Limited, in respect of its operations during public holidays and weekends, had been that it gave the workers prior notice of at least three days before the holiday, but in the case under dispute management of the company sent the information to the workers rather too late, hence the inability of the workers to report for work on December 7, 2018, which was a public holiday.
He noted that by the laws of Ghana, it was not compulsory for workers to report for work on public holidays, adding that the employer and workers could mutually agree to organise and carry out work activities on a public holiday or non-working day.
Mr Ayawine stated that the workers’ inability to turn up for work on a public holiday and weekend did not constitute an infraction of the Labour Laws of Ghana and that termination of their appointments could not stand in the face of the law.