The workers of the Precious Minerals Marketing Company Limited (PMMC), on Thursday picketed at the company’s premises over alleged breach of procurement procedures by management and poor conditions of work for staff.
At the premises of PMMC, Madam Agnes Ayitey, the Branch Secretary of the Ghana Mines Workers Union, who addressed the media, outlined a number of grievances, including the allegation of frequent meetings of the Board.
She said this year alone, the Board had met 26 times and increased the sitting allowances without approval from the Ministry of Finance.
She said the Board had allegedly increased its allowance to 726 per cent, while they had increased that of the staff by only 12 per cent.
She said Mr Opare Hammond, the Managing Director (MD), had also allegedly breached the procurement process by purchasing an Acid scanning Machine worth GH¢600,000.00, which is fixed at the Kotoka International Airport.
Madam Ayitey said the procurement law demanded that any purchase beyond GH¢100,000.00 should be acquired through a constituted committee.
She accused the Board for allegedly moving to stop the health insurance that staff members had been enjoying.
She said the MD had allegedly employed staff without following the laid down administrative procedure, leading to a number of employees not known to the former employees and engaged in handpicking staff for promotion, adding that 15 new staff had been added.
She said the MD allegedly slapped the Internal Auditor of the Company and later sacked him from office rendering him currently unemployed.
She called on the President Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo to intervene in the situation to rescue the staff from the suffering and as a matter of urgency, remove the MD and all management team.
Mr Kwarko Mensah Gyakari, the National Chairman of the Ghana Mine Workers Union (GMWU) of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Ghana received the petition of the branch union on behalf of the Union and assured the members of the leadership support.
In solidarity to the branch union, Mr Prince William Ankrah, General Secretary of the GMWU, said the Union has written to Mr Hammond and October 9 was set for a meeting with Him and his lawyers.
He said the Union received a reply from the Mr Hammond’s Lawyers which surprised leadership because they had wanted to meet him on friendly terms to resolve the various allegations.
In a sharp turn, he said Mr Hammond had agreed to meet the executives of GMWU to deliberate on the allegations and see the way forward on Thursday October 4 in the afternoon instead of October 9 upon hearing the news of the picketing.
Mr Ankrah said the Union would want to get the side of Mr Hammond before making any recommendations but added that if all allegations were found to be true, the law would have to take its course.
However, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Mr Hammond denied all the allegations by the branch Union, saying they were false and did not merit discussions.
‘I have no idea, I have very cordial relationship with my staff and the Union,’ adding that everything had been moving on smoothly.
He said he was surprised by the concerns because ‘they have not written a petition, nobody has expressed any grievances to me or to my Board over anything’.
He said he was poised to meet the leadership of GMWU to discuss the concerns raised by the staff in order to calm the situation.
On the allegations of the Acid Scanning Machine purchase, he said the Entity Tender Committee approved the purchase, adding that, the Board would issue a statement at the appropriate time to address the facts of the matter in its entirety.