The Volta Aluminum Company (VALCO) is set to resume operations following a successful meeting held between senior management of the company, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, executives of the local union and the Industrial and Commercial Union (ICU).
The meeting which was held on Monday, was to find common grounds in resolving the impasse between the management and staff over salary increment and conditions of service.
As part of the road map to restore normalcy, the parties agreed to return to the negotiating table to continue and complete their wage negotiations.
A source within told the Ghanaian Times that leadership of all the key stakeholders, including the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of VALCO, Mr Dan Acheampong; Director of Human Resource (HR) and Administration at VALCO, Mr Festus Quaidoo; the CEO of the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC), Mr Michael Ansah; General Secretary for ICU, Mr Morgan Ayawine, and Chairman of the local union, Mr Edgar Tetteh, appended their signatures demonstrating their commitment to the process.
Last week workers of VALCO embarked on a strike action after rejecting a 22 per cent salary increment from management.
The workers apart from demanding 65per cent increment were also asking for their salaries to be indexed to the dollar as their counterparts in the United States of America.
However, management found their demands quiet untenable, more especially within the current economic circumstances the country finds itself.
A statement issued by the management then said it was working round the clock to bring to an end the impasse that led to the shutting down of the plant.
According to management, it was still talking to leadership of the union to see reason and back down on their demands which had become the reason for the impasse.
The statement issued by the company and jointly signed by the board chairman, Mr Henry Benyah and the Chief Executive Officer, Mr Dan Acheampong said it was unfortunate that things would turn out the way it did.
It explained that the workers had rejected the 22per cent salary increment offered them by management.
According to the statement, even though the workers were demanding for a 65per cent upward adjustment, the company was unable to do that looking at the prevailing economic circumstance.
“In what should have come as a welcoming news to the over 300 workers, at a time where the country is experiencing an economic downturn, the percentage offer is rather being met with stiff opposition from the workers who staged a demonstration on Monday, October 31, 2022, refusing some management members entry into the facility,” the statement said.
It revealed that the workers after a series of negotiations led by their union executives, made a demand of 55 per cent salary increment to the management.
However, management could only offer a 22per cent increment in salaries for the workers and this was with the assurance that there would be further increment when things improved.
“Management of VALCO is still appealing to the workers to consider the current state of the Aluminium Smelter which, for years, has been recording loses until the year 2021 where, through prudent management and better supervision, chalked some modest gains recording Earnings before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) profits,” it appealed.
BY CLIFF EKUFUL