Telecommunication systems in Ghana are likely to face a shutdown following some threats issued by the workers of the network operators to embark on a nationwide strike tomorrow Monday, March 15, 2021.
According to a notice served by the Telecom and IT Professionals Union (TIP), made up of telecom engineers and technicians who manage the key technical operations for the telecom operators to the National Labour Commission (NLC), the Union said it has taken the decision to embark on the strike due to poor conditions of service.
The decision to embark on a strike was reached after a deadlock in salary negotiations failed between the union and the management of the four sub-contractors (SBCs) Linfra Ghana Limited, MP Infrastructure Ghana Limited, Reime Ghana Limited and Reliance Personal Services who have been engaged by Hauwei Technologies Limited to maintain the technical operations of MTN, AirtelTigo and Vodafone.
In a letter dated March 12, 2021, signed by Israel EdemAgbegbor, General Secretary of the Union, to inform the NLC and the sub-contractors (SBCs) of the intended action, the union stated that the four SBCs have refused to act accordingly in addressing the concerns of the workers.
“The union do not wish to cooperate with management going forward until the workers’ concerns are resolved. Given the above facts and conditions, we respectfully write to inform you that our earlier industrial action is coming on the 15th of March 2021 as earlier planned,” the letter stated.
Following delays in the implementation of an arbitral award directing the management of the SBCs to collectively undertake a proper job evaluation and new salary structure to reflect standard industry remuneration, the union had served Notice of Industrial Action to the National Labour Commission. But the NLC intervened and directed the SBCs to act on the concerns of the workers.
Israel Agbegbor said, although the union served notice on December 22, 2020, to embark on industrial action on January 2, 2021, it respected the Labour Commission’s intervention to stay action, expecting that the employer would honour its obligation to restructure the salary of workers.
“They are using our category as essential services workers to exploit us without paying us rightly,” he said.
Meanwhile, a sit-down industrial action by the union in October 2019 after a deadlock in negotiation in some few hours almost crippled the country’s telecom operations.
A Memorandum of Understanding to end the sit-down strike was required by management to undertake a job re-evaluation and salary restructuring but has failed to do so and consequently led the parties to the Labour Commission which the Commission upheld in favour of the Union in an arbitration award on March 19, 2020.
However, the current salary negotiation by the Joint Standing Negotiation Committee (JSNC), which was meant to have taken place in September 2020, the Union proposed a 20 per cent pay increase, but management locked its offer at 3 per cent, after initially offering zero per cent.