Staff of Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) will from Wednesday, December 11 begin an indefinite sit down strike to push for the payment of the about 1.2 billion debt owed it by power distribution companies and other institutions in the country.
Workers of the company say they will thus refuse to attend to emergency situations that may arise during the period of the strike, a situation likely to plunge most parts of the country into darkness in the coming days.
The strike was initially scheduled to begin on December 4 but later pushed to December 10 to await a response on a petition to the workers presented to government and GRIDCo management during a recent demonstration.
According to the workers, GRIDCo management and the Finance Ministry have failed to engage them on the issues raised in the petition, noting they have since not received any response from them.
“Having revised our initial date of the sit down strike from December 4 to 10 of 2019 in anticipation of immediate response by GRIDCo Management and the institutions petitioned, which never materialized, we finally declare from Wednesday, December 11, 2019 the sit down strike until further notice,” the workers announced in a statement Tuesday.
The workers say the strike will be followed with picketing at the GRIDCo Head Office at a date to be announced later by their leadership.
The Senior Staff and the Divisional Union of GRIDCo on November 21 announced the withdrawal of emergency services outside normal working hours including weekends, over the debts owed the company.
Figures from GRIDCo showed ECG’s debt to the company stood at 607 million cedis as of March 1, 2019; PDS 94,204,903 collected during the suspension of the PDS deal; Valco 32, 567,974 dollars as of September 30.
NEDCo, per the figures, owes the GRIDCo 177 million cedis as of September 30.
The wholly owned state entity is the independent transmission utility. It is responsible for the construction, establishing, managing and maintaining all transmission facilities, works, buildings and other systems necessary to transmit energy.
The GRIDCo workers say the huge debt was crippling the operations of the company as they are unable to expand its transmission lines.
Also, the workers say they are forced to sleep in vehicles and work under harsh conditions because the company is not able to pay for hotel bills for staff sent on monitoring duties among others.