Public Utilities Workers Union (PUWU) has sued the Electricity Company of Ghana, the Attorney-General and the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA), over the dispute on the need to pay redundancy package to ECG workers.
A writ filed by PUWU seeking an injunction against the agreement between Ghana and the Millennium Challenge Authority on the planned privatization of the ECG, is threatening ongoing negotiations.
PUWU’s writ filed at the Accra High Court argues that the decision to cede ECG to a concessionaire constitutes severance of ECG staff’ employment.
The suit comes at a time, MiDA is holding a second bidders conference is underway at Alisa Hotel here in Accra.
It maintains that, discussions that went into negotiations for the sale of ECG did not factor the declaration of redundancy, despite the content of Section 65 of the Labour Act, 2005 (Act 651).
They are also seeking an order directed at the defendants to “comply with the provisions of Act 651, and go through the proper redundancy process as laid down in Ghana’s laws and pay plaintiffs redundancy pay (severance package) in accordance with the stipulation of the law.”
They also asking for an injunction to halt the Compact between Ghana and the MCC. The Ghana Power Compact will provide Ghana with a grant of US$498,200,000 to improve the performance of the power sector.
Officials of the ECG and the AG’s Department have declined comment for now.
Meanwhile a labour lawyer, Bawa Duah has said that the Minister for Energy was wrong to neglect negotiating with the union. “I am not surprised at the court action. The law states that where there is a union in a workplace, in the event of redundancy it is a matter that is supposed to be negotiated between the employer in this case the government and the union and not individual workers.”
He added that the law says the organisation closing down ought to pay the redundancy fee. “It would have been naive if the union waited for the take off to took place before they demand redundancy because they must work in the interest of the workers. I think it is a step in the right direction”, he added.