Court Dismisses ECG Workers Application To Halt Concession

The Accra High Court has dismissed an application by 1001 workers of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) that sought to stop the concession of the company to a private entity.

The workers had filed an application for interlocutory injunction to halt the Millennium Challenge Compact 2, which includes the concession of ECG.

The workers wanted the court to halt the process pending the determination of their suit challenging it on the basis that the government had failed to conduct proper redundancy negotiations with them.

But in a ruling Tuesday morning. the court, presided over by Mrs Justice Laurenda Owusu, held that the Government of Ghana would suffer immense hardship if the application was granted.

According to the court, the compact was in force and contracts had been signed and therefore there would be irreparable damage to the government if the process was halted.

On the other hand, the court was of the view that the workers would not suffer any hardship if the application was refused.

This was because they can be adequately compensated in the event they win the substantive suit.

Related: A-G, ECG workers’ lawyer clash in court

Power Compact

On August 5, 2014, the government entered into an agreement with the United States of America (USA), acting through the MCC, to transform the power sector in Ghana.

It is known as the Ghana Power Compact or simply Compact II and the MCC is expected to invest up to $498.2 million to transform Ghana’s power sector and stimulate private investments.

The implementation agency of the compact on behalf of the government is the MiDA.

As part of the deal, the operations of the ECG have to be handed over to a private entity for a period of 20 years to ensure the transformation of the country’s sole power distributor.

Court case

But that move angered the 1,001 workers of the ECG and, on October 3, 2017, they dragged the government, MiDA and the ECG to court with the case that there was no redundancy package arrangement for them.

Joined to the suit as second plaintiff is the Public Utilities Workers Union (PUWU).

They are asking, among others, for a declaration that the decision by the Minister of Energy to conduct redundancy negotiations with individual employees of the ECG, including the plaintiffs, is illegal and constitutes a gross violation of Section 65 of the Labour Act.

The plaintiffs are praying for an order for the defendants to comply with the provisions of the Labour Act by going through the proper redundancy process as laid down in the country’s laws and pay the plaintiffs’ redundancy pay (severance package) in accordance with the stipulation in the law and the collective agreement between the workers and the ECG.

They are also seeking a perpetual injunction to restrain the defendants, their assigns and privies from continuing with the compact agreement between the government of Ghana and the MCC signed on August 5, 2014.