TOR-Torentco deal: GTPCWU to embark on sit-down strike over interdiction of executives

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The General Transport, Petroleum Chemical Workers Union (GTPCWU) of TUC has issued a 5-day ultimatum to the government to recall two staff members of the Tema Oil Refinery an executive members of the union who have been interdicted.

The two, Serwah Duncan-Williams and Anthony Koomson have been interdicted by the board of Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) for engaging the media in October 2023, on a partnership deal between the refinery and Torentco Asset Management Ltd.

The board then decided to sanction the two in December 2023, over their comments deemed damaging to TOR’s image.

After a National Executive Council meeting and media engagement in Accra on Friday, January 26, 2024, the  Chairman of GTPCWU, Bernard Owusu, said the union will embark on a sit-down strike after next week Friday if the government fails to reinstate those interdicted.

He told Joy Business the union was to embark on a strike on January 26, 2024, having issued a notice earlier this month.

“Per our structures, we wanted to embark on a strike. We were supposed to embark on strike and after a deliberation with NEC, it has affirmed our earlier decision and extended it to next week”, he said.

He warned that nothing would stop the union from taking this strike action if those interdicted were not recalled.

Bernard Owusu described the situation as quite disheartening referring to those interdicted as victims in a struggle aimed at saving Ghana’s premier refinery from falling into the hands of some individuals who do not have Tema Oil Refinery at heart.

Asked about the possible impact should the group carry out its action, he said the General Transport, Petroleum Chemical Workers Union plays a crucial role in the country’s economy.

“When we put down our tools, there will be fuel shortages, lights will go off, but to mention a few”, he explained.

On how Serwah Duncan-Williams and Anthony Koomson are faring, he added “Life is not easy for them especially as the government intends to introduce new taxes. Our salary is nothing to write home about, so with the two you can only imagine the kind of financial situation they find themselves in”

Since the TOR-Torentco deal came to light, GTPCWU has argued that Torentco Asset Management Ltd which has gone through name changes and incorporated on January 1, 2023, lacked the financial and technical capabilities to be handed TOR on a silver platter.

The group alarmed by the proposed lease petitioned some state institutions including the Attorney General and Minster of Justice as well as the Office of the Special Prosecutor with a due diligence report.

In a response in November 2023, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Dame stated that Torentco Asset Management Ltd did not have the financial and technical capacity for the said deal.

SourceKwame Yankah

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