There is an uneasy calm at the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
This follows the refusal of management of the Customs Division to comply with a Supreme Court (SC) judgment in February, 2009, that the officers of the Division cannot unionise.
The SC again in November 2015, ruled that the workers could not unionise after a staff had petitioned the highest court for the enforcement of its earlier ruling in 2009.
While management of the Customs Division is making efforts to unionise the officers, they (personnel) on the other hand are against the decision and went to court.
The leadership of the Senior Staff and the Junior Staff Association of the Customs Division had made a number of requests to the GRA management to stop deducting Trade Union dues from the salaries of the personnel, but management had been adamant to their demand.
Coming under pressure from the rank and file, the leadership of the
Labour groups in the Customs Division – Staff Associations, Public Services Workers Union (PSWU) and the Ghana Revenue Authority Workers Union, petitioned the office of Employment and Labour Relations Minister, requesting his intervention.
After a crucial meeting, management initiated action to resolve the impasse.
A source told the GNA that a memorandum written by the Deputy Commissioner of Finance on August 11, 2016, instructing the Head of GRA Pay Roll to stop deductions of Trade Union dues from the salaries of officers of the Customs Division with effect from August, this year, suggested that there was an attempt to stop the deductions.
However, a new memorandum from management was forwarded to the Head of Pay Roll to disregard the earlier directive, but the officers vowed to ensure that the GRA management complies with the SC ruling.
They urged the Ministry to as a matter of urgency, have audience with the labour groups in the Customs Division, to settle the issue before it is too late.
Speaking under the condition of animosity, a GRA staff, who is not a Customs Officer, told the GNA that the leadership of Customs had backtracked on their earlier instructions to stop the deductions after intense pressure from the leadership of the PSWU of the Domestic Tax Revenue Division and the leadership of their mother union.
A retired Customs Officer, who was processing his retirement claims, expressed worry that without consenting to any union membership, the PSWU Trade Union dues was deducted from his monthly salary from April 2011 till his exit this year.