The local unions of the Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority (GPHA) have declared their intention to stage a massive demonstration to protest the Meridian Ports Services (MPS)-GPHA concession agreement signed in 2015.
In an interview, the Union Chairman, Mr. Emmanuel Arhin Young, stressed that the MPS-GPHA deal was having dire implications on the GPHA workforce and the entire nation.
This development, he said, compelled the Maritime Dockworkers Union (MDU) to petition the presidency on the matter, which necessitated a cabinet meeting on the issues and concerns raised by the unions.
However, a fallout of the cabinet meeting directed the sector minister, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah to engage with both parties (MPS-GPHA) to ensure that the demands of GPHA are adhered to by MPS which include; GRA compliance with all refrigerated containerised cargo volumes from MPS to GPHA Reefer Terminal, GPHA to implement its intention of leasing Harbour Mobile Cranes for its containerised vessel operations, and GPHA be allowed to handle 20% of containerised cargo traffic during the ten-year exclusivity period.
Mr. Arhin told the paper that these directives have been duly communicated to MPS with several reminders as MPS has failed to adhere to the directive of cabinet, especially on the 20% container volumes since 2019.
The non-adherence of MPS due to the inaction of Ofori Asiamah, on the directives of cabinet necessitated the local unions to engage both the management of GPHA and the Minister on the MPS-GPHA issues which sound frustrating and hopeless, he added.
He said the local unions viewed this as an act of gross disrespect by MPS to cabinet, and by extension the President, for disregarding his cabinet-led directive over the period.
This, he stressed, was unacceptable because of its daring consequences, currently impacting negatively on the entire workforce and financial sustenance of the organisation in general, with workers of GHPA’s conditions of service getting worse with the current economic situation of the country.
Mr. Arhin said the Minister of Transport’s failure to enforce cabinet’s directives on the MPS-GPHA was becoming more frustrating for local unions.
That situation, he continued, has left the local unions with no option but to embark on a massive demonstration in the coming days to impress upon MPS to implement the directives of cabinet and by extension the President to the latter to help save the current situation of GPHA and the nation.