Ex-staff of GCNeT hint of industrial action over non-payment of exit packages

Ex-staff of the Ghana Community Network Services Limited, GCNeT, have warned of an industrial action if management fails to pay them their exit packages as ordered by the Arbitration Panel appointed by the National Labour Commission (NLC).

Their call comes after a three-member Arbitration Panel appointed by the National Labour Commission under Labour Act 651 and Regulation 17 of L.I. 1822, and the ADR Act 798 earlier this month ordered GCNet to pay its staff made redundant recently as stated in the provisions of the HR Policy Manual without any variation or adjustment.

Speaking to Citi Business News on the delay in the release of their monies, Chairman of the Staff Welfare Association of GCNet, Felix Agbodeka urged the parent company of GCNet and its shareholders to abide by the ruling of the NLC’s arbitration committee as they have also accordingly notified the Chief Labour Officer.

“In view of the fact that it has been delayed, we served a notice of industrial action to the Labour Commission and so, we are by this medium calling on them to as quickly as possible begin the payment so that every other thing in the offing will be nipped in the bud. Some of our colleagues have been ejected from their homes because they cannot pay their rent. As the leadership of the staff welfare association, we are trying to avoid putting the workers in dire situations like this. That is why we are calling on our management to do what is honourable,” he said.

BACKGROUND

Following the transfer of responsibility for the coordination of the single window project at Ghana’s ports of entry from West Blue Consulting and GCNet to UNIPASS, over 140 employees have allegedly been laid off by GCNet with no exit packages.

GCNet was an information technology firm which used to facilitate trade services at the country’s ports.

The company had a contract with government until 2023.

However, in April 2020, the government terminated the contract, leading to a shutdown of its operations in May.

It thus allowed for the full rollout of a new customs clearing system called UNIPASS.

The ICUMS, also known as UNIPASS, was rolled out on June 1, to take over the single window platform from GCNet and West Blue Consulting at the Ports.

However, following the termination of the contract, GCNET decided to lay off some of its staff.

This led to the three-member arbitration panel under the auspices of the National Labour Commission (NLC) ruling in favour of about 140 staff of Ghana Community Network Services Limited (GCNet) over a redundancy dispute with GCNet.

The arbitration panel also ruled that GCNet is under obligation to pay each of the staff a redundancy package in accordance with the company’s policy “without any adjustment or variation”.

“The effective date for the redundancy is August 31, 2020, and this shall be the last day of employment of the affected staff with GCNet,” the panel held in a ruling dated September 4, 2020.

Source: www.citibusinessnews.com

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