The General Agriculture Workers Union (GAWU), and the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU), have vowed to prevent some workers of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) from carrying out their threat to break away from the mother union for Ghanaian workers.
The two unions described the action as an attempt by the workers to break its front, and accused the leadership of COCOBOD of victimizing its workers who are against the break-up.
On April 28, 2016, the Chairman of the Supreme Consultative Council of COCOBOD, Alhaji Idriss Alhassan, announced that over 2,000 workers of COCOBOD have appended their signatures to a form, breaking away from the two unions.
He explained that the unions have failed to protect the welfare of COCOBOD workers in negotiating for a 30 percent salary increment.
However, speaking to Citi Business News after a joint press conference held at the premises of the Trades Union Congress, the General Secretary of GAWU, Kinsley Ofei-Nkansah stated that the leadership of COCOBOD is fueling the breakup due to the unions’ attempt to expose some corrupt acts in its operations.
According to Mr. Ofei-Nkansah, there are laid down procedures for members of the union to follow before a breakup takes effect.
“This is a union governed by regulations. We do our things in accordance with the constitution of Ghana. We go by the labour laws of this country and we will not allow anybody to take Ghanaian workers for granted,” he said.
GAWU, ICU allegations
Pointing out some of the acts perceived as improper, Mr. Ofei- Nkansah alleged that thousands of government’s cocoa has been diverted without proper account.
He stated that the act known as ‘Special Sample Residue’ is one major concern that ICU and GAWU have raised, but they’ve been ignored.
“The special sample residue is done by drawing an average of 0.3kg of cocoa beans from each bag taken over and sold by the Cocoa Marketing Company,” he said.
He explained that for every 1,000 tons of cocoa, COCOBOD gets an average of 4.6875 tons – an equivalent of 75 bags; which would have fetched Ghana over 10 million dollars as at February 2016.
He noted that the issue was raised at many meetings for COCOBOD to account for the money but it has yielded no results.
He further pointed out that, issues of excess cocoa deliveries to processing factories, and improper accounting for drugs in cocoa clinics have been ignored by the management of COCOBOD anytime the matter came up.
He maintained that the union’s wish to press for transparency in the activities of COCOBOD, is the reason why management of the company is encouraging the workers to break away.
By: Lawrence Segbefia/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana