More than one hundred workers of the Ghana Rubber Estate Limited GREL on Tuesday February 13, 2018 embarked on a peaceful strike action against their General Manager for allegedly increasing their salary by 10 percent unilaterally.
The workers who gathered at the Apimanin site of the company at Ahanta West accused the Managing Director Lionel Barre of deciding to increase salaries by 10 percent without the consent of their union.
According to the workers negotiations on their salary increase have been ongoing for weeks without any head way.
However, the Managing Director without recourse to the meeting decided to increase their salaries by 10 percent.
“Our union leaders met with management to negotiate on our salary increment… but the January salary came with a 10 percent increase. This is surprising and unacceptable because what we know is that there has been no conclusion on the negotiations. So who sanctioned the 10 percent increase. At least our union tells us that they have not agreed on the percentage of increase”, one worker explained.
But the workers say that is not the right action to take and are therefore registering their protest.
The workers also listed a litany of accusations against their management about how poorly they are treated.
For instance the aggrieved workers claim Junior Staff members are made to drink “dirty and frog infested water “while the Senior Staff members are provided with treated water.
“Our leaders want to tell us that because we are uneducated we are slaves so they subject us to inhumane treatment… this is not fair”.
“We lodged a complaint with the Human Resource Manager and he told us categorically that we are uneducated and so cannot be treated like those who are educated”, another worker alleged.
“The company has a school bus but serves only children of Senior Staff members. Our [Junior Staff members] children can only board the bus with a permit. Why should there be this discrimination”, an aggrieved worker questioned.
Meanwhile, the workers union on Wednesday February 14, 2018 met with the workers to look at ways of addressing the 10 percent increase when negotiations are still ongoing.
Management of the company will also meet the union members on Thursday February 15, 2018 to find out what triggered the strike action.
Meanwhile calm has since been restored at the Apimanim site of the company.
Story by: Stephen Cudjoe/Portia Cudjoe