Retrenched railway workers accuse Joe Ghartey of withholding their severance package

Former workers of the Ghana Railway Company (GRC) who were retrenched in 2006 are crying for the full payment of their severance packages, saying 114 of them have already died out of economic hardship. They indicated that their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the company stipulated that the six months’ salary, multiplied by the number of years a worker had worked with the company, should be paid as severance package. But this has not been adhered to, they complain. Speaking on Takoradi-based Connect FM’s flagship morning show Omanbapa hosted by Paa Kwesi Simpson on Wednesday, July 22, General Secretary for the 2006 Retrenched Railway Workers Union Edward Kwamena Robert, noted that on October 1, 2006, GRC rendered those aged between 56 and 60 years redundant. He said an improvised formula of 1.35 per cent of their basic salary, multiplied by the number of months to their retirements, was used to give them their retrenchment packages. And they felt cheated, Mr Kwamea Roberts said. “They gave us peanut, which was unacceptable, therefore we sued the company and the case lingered from September 10, 2010 till December 7, 2015 when the court gave a final ruling in our favour,” he said. He added that, they won all the subsequent suits in different courts but the railway company was not ready to pay what was due them. The Secretary said some of their colleagues passed on due to extreme economic hardship. He accused the sector minister, Joe Ghartey, of doing nothing about this situation despite having been spoken to by prominent persons such as the Essikado Paramount Chief, Nana Kwabena Nkestia V, and some others. “The Minister [of Railways Development] gets angry any time he hears us talking about it in the media, yet, he is not doing anything to ensure we get our money,” Mr Kwamena Robert said. He said their current impoverished state is sending them to their early grave and an immediate disbursement of funds is the solution. They have, therefore, appealed to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to come to their aid and instruct the sector minister to release their funds due them as they have heard through the grapevine that the said money has been released. Reacting to the issue, Human Resource Manager for the Ghana Railway Company Yaw Asamoah refuted the claims that the Railway Ministry has received the funds from government. He explained that the ruling by a Sekondi High Court in 2016 for the Railway Company to pay a sum of ¢42,307,459.30 is being challenged at an Appeals Court in Cape Coast. Mr. Asamoah added that they have accepted the Sekondi Court ruling but they need Appeals Court to revisit the issue. When asked exactly what they need from the Appeals Court, the Manager declined to comment but rather advised that all parties wait patiently until the court gives its ruling.

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