Strike rocks Metro Mass Transit … Minister intervenes to restore normalcy

metro mass transitThe staff of the Metro Mass Transit Limited (MMTL), resumed work yesterday, after embarking on a nationwide strike to demand action on the report of the 12 alleged missing buses from the MMTL.

This followed the intervention by the Transport Minister, Mrs. Dzifa Ativor, who appealed to the workers to return to work.

The strike which started with a peaceful demonstration at 4am brought work to a standstill, as vehicles were not allowed in and out of the company’s premises in Accra.

When The Ghanaian Times got to the scene at about 9 a.m., the workers were seen clad in red bands, drumming and singing war songs while management members looked on.

The strike affected passengers, especially traders and school children who patronise MTT buses.

Passengers were seen at terminals waiting eagerly for the buses to return to the roads.

The police from the Kaneshie District Command were however, there in their numbers to maintain law and order.

The workers were also demanding for the removal of the Deputy Managing Director of the MMTL, John Awuku Dzirasah, and the Board Chairman Osabarima Ansah Sasraku III, accusing them of complacency in the missing 12 buses.

They also called for the restoration of procurement of spare parts from VDL Holland to ensure the availability of genuine spare parts for use by the MMTL.

The Divisional Union Chairman of the Junior staff of the company, Joseph Kwesi Ahenkorah, in an interview with the media, said the laying down of tools by the workers was in the interest of the MMTL in particular, and the country as a whole.

He said the vehicles were parked at the company for several months due to the lack of spare part to rehabilitate them.

Mr. Ahenkorah said the various unions of the company, had written letters to management on the issue of no spare parts but to no avail.

He said investigations by both the Local Union and Senior Staff Association, revealed the missing of 12 buses from the company and alleged they were directed out of the company’s premises by Mr Dzirasah.

He said the Divisional Union, had lost confidence in the Board Chairman of the MMTL, Osaberima Ansah Sasraku and called for his removal from office.

“This is due to the fact that there is conflict of interest situation in the company as the Board Chairman is also the Chairman of the Entity Tender Committee and had been a supplier to the company,” Mr. Ahenkorah further alleged.

Mr. Ahenkorah said, the unions had been able to retrieve a bus at Kumasi and two buses at Mamponteng and made formal reports to the police for investigations.

He stressed the need for better service at the company to ensure that workers go about their duties properly.

Mr. Ahenkorah said that all the state transport companies were collapsing, and that there was the need to put in measures to address the situation.

“We need to embark on this strike because if we are not careful we would be out of the system soon, which will not augur well for the workforce” he said

He said the workers would ensure that all their grievances are addressed to ensure industrial harmony.

Mrs. Ativor, addressing the workers after a crunch meeting with management of the MMTL gave the assurance that all issues raised by the workers would be looked at thoroughly.

She said, the ministry was committed to a viable transport sector.

“I have met with your union leaders and I think there is the need to take certain actions in order to restore sanity into Metro Mass so that you can be able to work in peace and harmony with your leaders,” she said.

She, however, asked for time to be able to work on some of the workers’ demands including the removal of the Board Chairman which she said was above her authority.

The General Secretary of the General Transport, Petroleum and Chemical Workers Union, Mr. Fuseini Iddrisu, said the strike would be resumed in a fortnight, if the issues raised by the workers are not addressed.

He called on the workers to exercise restraint as the leadership of the company and the workers jointly strive to find a lasting solution to the matter.

From Koforidu, Ama Tekyiwaa Ampadu-Nyarko, reports that passengers who frequently board the Metro Mass Transit Limited (MMTL) buses in the Eastern Region were left stranded at the bus station, due to the strike action by workers.

A lot of the passengers were disappointed as they were left stranded with their luggage, while the drivers parked their buses.

The drivers who had clad their buses with red bands, played drums, chanted war songs and fired musketry into the air to signify their seriousness about the strike.

When The Ghanaian Times visited the station at about 10:15 a.m., passengers complained that they had no choice than to try other stations to board vehicles.

From Takoradi Peter Gbambila reports that Staff of the Metro Mass Transit Limited (MMT) in the Western Region embarked on a sit down strike to draw the attention of the Minister of Transport to some issues affecting the company.

When The Ghanaian Times got to the loading point of MMT in Takoradi, the yard was empty and TIGO, a telecommunications company had capitalised on their absence to erect a canopy to sell its products.

A similar situation existed at the Sekondi-Takoradi main yard where workers had gathered in groups, discussing the predicament of the MMT.

The chairman of the senior staff association, Mr. Bless Ossom, Told the Ghanaian Times that the rationale behind the sit down strike was the unavailability of genuine spare parts for the buses and the abrogation of the contract which was signed with a Dutch company for the supply of genuine parts without any reason.

From Tamale, the Northern Regional capital, Geoffrey Buta reports that, the nationwide strike by Metro Mass Transit Limited (MMTL) affected passengers especially traders and students travelling to various destination.

Most of the affected people who were not aware of the strike came in the early morning to board buses to their various destinations, but were disappointed and stranded due to the strike.

Mr. Abukari Mohammed, the chairman of the Northern Regional branch of the union, admitted that the strike was going to affect travelers, but insisted they needed to take a step to the make authorities enhance the operation of the MMTL.

An indefinite strike declared by workers of the MMTL left scores of commuters stranded in Wa in the Upper West Region, reports Cliff Ekuful.

Though there are other forms of transport like the GPRTU buses, the MMTL remains the main means of traveling outside the region, as a result, the impact of the strike is very biting here.

At 11:30am when The Ghanaian Times visited the MMTL terminal at Wa over 400 commuters traveling from Wa to other destinations in the region as well as to Bolgatanga and Tamale were seen with their luggage waiting patiently to see if the worker would rescind their decision.

The situation led to the exploitation of travelers by mini urvan buses as some of the drivers have increased their fares between 30 and 50 percent.

For instance, from Wa to Techiman which used to be Gh?30, drivers were charging between Gh?35 and Gh?40.

From Wa to Tumu which used to be Gh?14, the drivers were charging betweenGh?16 and Gh?18.

From Kumasi KINGSELY E. HOPE, reports that the management of the Metro Mass Transit Limited (MMTL) went on a sit down strike yesterday.

Wearing red clothes and head bands, the workers called for the removal from office of the Board Chairman and Deputy Managing Director of the company.

Passengers travelling to Sunyani, Takoradi, Wa, Tamale among the lots, got stranded at the premises of the Kumasi office.

In a statement chanced upon by The Ghanaian Times the workers resolved that the ‘’Divisional Union does not have confidence in both the Board Chairman and Deputy Managing Director and ask for their removal from office.”

By Anita Nyarko & Julius Yao Petetsi

 

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