The Ghana Railways Workers Union is demanding a payment of their three-month salary arrears, as well as over one year of unpaid SSNIT and Tier-2 contributions.
Speaking to the Tema branch Station Manager Mr Sey on Plan B FM’s late afternoon show EBAANOSEN , he said that life has become very difficult for railway workers due to operational challenges that have rendered the company highly indebted.
“The Ghana Railway Company Limited (GRCL), a fully state-owned company of the Republic of Ghana with no shareholders and a staff strength of over one thousand workers, is facing serious challenges operating on the existing Narrow gauge rail line which is in a very bad state, coupled with the old and aged rolling stock, resulting in series of derailments every now and then,” he said.
“The above challenges have resulted in serious financial constraints which easily qualify the company as a Highly Indebted Poor Company (HIPC),” he added.
“As we speak, salaries go into three or four months’ arrears before some efforts are made to effect some payments. Again, SSNIT payments are in arrears from October 2022 to date, which has compelled SSNIT to take GRCL to court to enforce payments. The company is owing GCB Bank millions of cedis, while workers’ Tier 2 payments have also not been settled since May 2022 to date.”
“Workers’ own deductions to their various credit unions such as GPHA Credit Union and RUCOMAS have not been paid since September 2021. Another issue of great concern to us is the determination of the fate of the GRCL Retrenched staff of 2006, which needs to be addressed by the Government,” Mr. Sey added.
Mr. Sey continued that all attempts to meet the President over the difficulties of the company, including running of the Railways as a Limited Liability Company without shareholders, have been unsuccessful, and therefore demanded an immediate audience with the President.
“It is the expectation of workers that since the company is state-owned, we would have thought that some government support from the state would have been extended to the company as it was the practice in the past. However, all that we hear is that the company is a limited liability company and therefore should be able to work and generate enough to fund itself.
We disagree with this assertion.”
“The truth of the matter is that, with the challenges enumerated earlier, the company can’t generate enough funds to sustain itself and to operate as a going concern. Frantic efforts have been made by the leadership of the Union to have engagements with the President of the Republic, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to have interactions on the current situation facing GRCL, but all have proven futile.”
“We have no option now than to engage you and use your medium to appeal to His Excellency the President of the Republic for an engagement with us to save the GRCL from total collapse,” he appealed.
Mr. Sey said the Railway workers are frustrated and disillusioned over the unpaid GH¢6 million salary arrears, hinted at a possible action if their arrears are not paid by Friday 25, August.
“We had a meeting on August 21, 2023, with the Chief Director of the Ministry of Railways who told us that some effort has been made, but the fact is that, as for a worker, it’s only when the money is in his hand that he would consider as having been done. So we are expecting the payment by Friday 25 August.
Railway Workers fight when we are ready. We don’t rush to fight, and that is why since this leadership took over, we have always engaged, but when there is the need to ginger ourselves, we will do it,” he warned.