Stephen Armah Ashitey, leader of dismissed workers of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), says the group will continue to push for their redundancy benefits.
The fight for the payment of the benefits for the dismissed workers, numbering about 3,000, started in 2002 when the GPHA retrenched them, and several discussions between the GPHA and the leadership of the dismissed workers to get the former pay them their retrenchment package had been unsuccessful, he explained.
His vehement push for their money to be paid them, he said, had, on several occasions, landed him in police custody, but Stephen Ashitey said the struggle to get the benefits had not died.
In view of that, he said he would not bow to police intimidations in their genuine struggle to get their former employer deal fairly with them.
“My colleagues and I were forced to retire in 2002, and we are aware the World Bank gave our huge redundancy benefits to the management of the GPHA to see us off, but as I speak with you, only five of the beneficiaries have been paid. How about the rest of us? Stephen Armah Ashitey asked.
Stephen Armah Ashitey said these to a section of the press to reaffirm a press conference over 700 of the dismissed ex-workers held in Ashaiman to awaken the management of GPHA of the raw deal handed them in 2002.
He said he was aware this government was in consultation with management of the GPHA to get them pay the ex-workers their redundancy benefits “but the action must be expedited to save homes and marriages.”
Some of the affected workers travelled from Takoradi to join their colleagues in Ashaiman and Tema to remind their former employer of their unpaid dismissal benefits.
The victims included both staff and non-staff and addressing the media in Ashaiman, Lord Ashong Laryeah, spokesperson for the group, said they would picket at the premises of the GPHA should the authority continue to hold back their benefits.
He said times had been hard for the ex-workers, adding that the situation had either killed some of his colleagues or rendered others bedridden.
“We are motivated to fight for the suffering of the majority of our colleagues because we have been suffering for the past 14 years since we were forced to retire.
“We are aware Nigeria and Cote D’Iviore paid good redundancy packages to their ex-workers after the World Bank gave the money to be paid their redundant port workers in the same year. Why has our management dealt unfairly with us since 2002?”
He entreated President Mahama to intervene in the matter in order to reunite broken families due to the long delay in the husbands’ inability to get money to keep their families running.