The National Chairman of the Communications Workers Union (CWU) and other union leaders at Vodafone, are among the 950 Vodafone employees caught in the compulsory redundancy web, a union leader told the GNA on Monday.
Mr Emmanuel Dakwa, Chairman of the local CWU at Vodafone, said: �As I speak with you now, I, and all my regional executives and our national chairman, Mr David Korley Clottey, have been issued with letters, asking as to prepare for redundancy in three months.�
The Vodafone redundancy exercise started as a voluntary process a few months ago but ran into problems when, after 942 had gone on voluntary redundancy, management unilaterally decided to lay off 950 more employees compulsorily.
The compulsory redundancy exercise attracted criticisms from the local union, national union, and the Trades Union Congress (TUC), all of which described it as �unilateral and autocratic� because management had disregarded the decision of a Standing Joint Negotiations Committee (SJNC) and held a press conference to announce the exercise without the consent of the union.
The Ministries of Communications and of Employment and Social Welfare made an inter-ministerial intervention and urged the Vodafone management to thoroughly discuss the details of the exercise and the new business plan with the CWU before carrying on with it, in accordance with the labour laws of the country.
But according to Mr Dakwa, management has disregarded the decision at the inter-ministerial meeting and the labour laws of the country and was carrying on with the exercise.
�Now they have targeted us the union leaders just to disarm the unionised workers so that they will not be able to negotiate for their rights in the company,� he said.
Mr Dakwa noted that the Vodafone management had shown over and over again that it had no regard for the rights of workers and for the labour laws of the country, saying that while it had targeted a group of workers for compulsory redundancy they had turned down other people�s applications for voluntary redundancy.
He explained that some 22 workers at the Ghana Telecom University who applied for redundancy were refused, even though recently they re-wrote to management insisting on being placed on the redundancy list.
Mr Dakwa also noted that management had kept harping on the claim that some workers came to them secretly and requested to be placed on the compulsory redundancy list.
�That is no reason to shelve due process and carry on with the exercise in such an autocratic manner.�
Major Albert Don-Chebe (RTD), Head of Corporate Communications at Vodafone, told the GNA that the �cry� of the union leaders was unfounded because those workers who had been placed on redundancy had not complained about it.
�If workers were opposed to the exercise the way the union leaders are making it look, why hasn�t there been industrial actions at Vodafone since the exercise started, or even when they got their letters last Wednesday,� he asked.
He noted that the complaint of the union leaders was because most of the workers whose services were no more needed at Vodafone were union members and their departure would affect the numbers and strength of the union.
�Apart from a few who were employed not long a ago and so their package may not be very attractive, most of the workers being laid off are junior staff who have been here for many years and have been laying wires for the company but their services are no more needed,� he said.
Maj. Don-Chebe said redundancy was ongoing in many other institutions across the country and yet the union leaders of Vodafone had since day one sought to make a �demon� out of the exercise at Vodafone.
He debunked allegations that a staff member died at Kumasi after being served with a letter, saying that the member died out of heart attack two weeks before letters were distributed.
Meanwhile, following the call of the TUC for government�s intervention, there is a tripartite meeting between CWU/TUC, Vodafone management and the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare on Monday to take a final decision on the matter.
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