Port management company, Ghana Community Network Services Limited (GCNet) has been slammed for acting in bad faith by refusing to pay terminated staff their severance packages after GCNet’s multi-million-dollar port management system was taken over by another company inspired by Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo.
Whatsup News has gathered that SGS, the parent company of GCNet and its Executive Management has refused to respect an Arbitration Award in favour of about 147 affected staff whose employment were terminated on June 30, 2020.
The disgruntled staff have invoked arbitrators, and on September 4, 2020, arbitrators, including the popular labour consultant, the Gamey and Gamey Group, ruled that the sacked staff were entitled to an award of a redundancy package.
“Each Employee who has been declared redundant by GCNET shall be paid a redundancy pay in accordance with Article 1901 (f) of the GCNet HR Policy Manual without and adjustment or variation,” the arbitration ruling, a copy of which is in the possession of Whatsup News, stated.
The management of GCNet served one-month notice of undertaking a redundancy exercise to affected staff on May 29, 2020 instead of the mandatory three months as stipulated by the Labour Act. The notice outlined steps to ensure completion of the redundancy process including full payment of severance package on or before June 30th 2020.
The notice to affected staff read in part ‘Per the termination clause in your contract of employment, GCNet is hereby serving one month notice effective 1st June 2020. The effective date of your termination will be 30th June 2020 and the redundancy payment made on or before 30th June 2020.’
However, the arbitration process ruled that the redundancy period should be calculated from August 2020, giving staff the benefit of the stipulated three-month notice.
The redundancy was because of Government’s termination of GCNet’s TradeNet and Transit Service contract on May 31, 2020 which notice was served in early April 2020.
By June 30, 2020, GCNet Management refused to respect the terms of disengagement which culminated in a series of discussions between Welfare Association representing staff and Executive Management representing SGS/ GCNet. Following a deadlock in discussions, the matter was jointly referred to the National Labour Commission (NLC) on August 11, 2020, by parties involved which ended in Arbitration for resolution.
An Arbitration Panel was jointly selected by the parties and the National Labour Commission (NLC).
On September 4, 2020, the NLC appointed Arbitration Panel ruled in favour of affected staff upholding HRPM Article 1901(f) of the GCNet HR Policy Manual to be respected without any variation or adjustment and also ordered that the effective date of redundancy was August 31, 2020 which should be regarded as the last day of employment for each employee, with clear instruction to pay August salaries to affected staff.
Days after Arbitration Award, GCNet Executive Management / SGS refused to respect the ruling of the Arbitration Panel as backed by law (Labour Act and Constitution of Ghana) and rather in defiant posture has approached the National Labour Commission (NLC) to review the arbitration award.
Affected staff are livid at the gross abuse of administrative process that seeks to undermine the arbitration panel.