Court throws out ECG workers

An Accra High Court yesterday gave government the greenlight to hand over operations of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to a private organisation for 20 years.

This followed the dismissal of an application by 1,001 ECG workers, who were seeking the court to stop the Millennium Challenge Compact II from taking over the company.

They contended that the Minister of Energy had breached the labour law by conducting redundancy negotiations with individual workers of ECG instead of the labour union.
The respondents, who include MiDA and the government, described the  application as premature and misconceived.

The workers argued that the deal aimed to address challenges confronting the ECG and had not appointed a concessionaire to take over the company.
In dismissing the interlocutory injunction, the Labour Division (2) of the High Court presided by Laurenda Owusu said the government would suffer irreparable damages if the application was granted.

She noted that contracts had been signed, money and resources expended, adding that the workers would be adequately compensated if judgement on the substantive case went in their favour.

The judge said she took into account whether there is a serious question to be tried, whether the workers had a legal right at law and the balance of convenience.
On August 5, 2014, the government entered into an agreement with the United States of America (USA), acting through the Millennium Challenge Compact, to transform the power sector in Ghana.

It is known as the Ghana Power Compact or simply Compact II and the MCC is expected to invest up to $498.2 million to transform Ghana’s power sector and stimulate private investments.

As part of the deal, the operations of the ECG have to be handed over to a private entity for a period of 20 years to ensure the transformation of the country’s sole power distributor.

The aggrieved workers took the government to court on October 3, 2017, alleging that there was no redundancy package for them, and said the deal would sever the legal relationship between them and their employers.

They asked the court for a declaration that the decision by the Minister of Energy to conduct redundancy negotiations with individual employees of the ECG, including the plaintiffs, is illegal and constitutes a gross violation of Section 65 of the Labour Act.

By Malik Sullemana 

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