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COCOBOD staff rebuff ICU, GAWU accusations; insist on breaking away

Rainforest Alliance certified cocoa farmers for Magnum Icecream in Assin Akonfudi, Ghana.

Workers of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) are moving forward with plans to break away from two labor unions due to what they describe as the lack of support from the unions to their welfare and development at COCOBOD.

The unions are the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) and the Ghana Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU).

“We are registering our own labour union to ensure that we provide the needed welfare support to the staff of COCOBOD and other workers in the cocoa industry,” the Chairman of the Supreme Consultative Council (SCC) of the COCOBOD, Idris Hassan said at a press conference.

The press conference was held to rebut allegations made by the ICU and GAWU that staffs of the COCOBOD were being victimized by the Chief Executive Officer of the board, Dr Stephen Opuni Kwame to join the new union.

The ICU and GAWU were reported to have said that COCOBOD staff that refused to withdraw their membership with them were placed on transfers as a punishment.

“Those who have questioned the credibility and the rationale behind this in-house union have been victimized through transfers from unit to unit and from one region to another, some within one month, having been transferred twice for no apparent reason, and this affected union leaders and other clerical staff who resisted the union busting tactics of the Chief Executive,” ICU and GAWU said in their joint press conference.

However, Hassan said the SCC has received more than 4,000 applications from staff of COCOBOD who have independently and willingly decided to withdraw their membership.

“ICU and GAWU are reacting because they know they will lose membership and substantial amount of revenue from our members,” he said.

“We are going to the Chief Labour Officer to ensure that the union is certified as a union of the cocoa industry to bring equity in the welfare of our members.

“We are going to bring a difference in trade unions in the country, where dynamism is celebrated.

“The labour act allows two or more people to form or join a union of their choice and so workers of the cocoa industry have the right to join a union of their choice.”

The ICU had filed a suit at the human rights court to challenge the decision of members of the COCOBOD Union Workers to leave ICU and form a union.

But the ruling by the court stated that the COCOBOD workers could not be prevented from forming their own union.

“The irony in this situation is that the ICU itself broke away from the Trade Union Congress (TUC), so why are they resisting a similar event now?” Hassan asked.

 

Nii Okai Tetteh | Onua FM | 3news.com

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