VALCO workers protest against poor working conditions in Tema  …but mgt resolves to end impasse

Workers of the Volta Aluminum Company (VALCO) on Tuesday staged a protest over management’s failure to index their salaries to the United States dollar. 

They also called for two management members to be relieved of their posts since they had attained their retirement ages.

According to the aggrieved workers, their salary was below $350 per month as against a minimum of $1000 for their smelting global counterparts.

They ascribed the situation to the continued stay of office of some top management personnel including the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dan Acheampong and Human Resource Director, Festus Quaidoo though they had attained their compulsory retirement age.

Addressing the press, Local Chairman of the VALCO Workers Union, Edgar Tetteh said Mr Acheampong, since his appointment in 2014 as CEO, had surrounded himself with four deputies.

They were, CEO in charge of Power & Integrated Aluminium Business, Maintenance & ICT, Operations and Finance.

Meanwhile, management of the VALCO has assured that it was working around the clock to bring to an end the impasse that has led to the shutting down of the plant reports CLIFF EDKUFUL.

According to the management, it was still talking to leadership of the union to see reason and backdown on their demands which had become the reason for the impasse.

A statement issued by the company and jointly signed by the board chairman, Mr Henry and the Chief Executive Officer, Mr Dan Acheampong said it was unfortunate that things would turn out this way.

The statement explained that the workers had rejected the 22 per cent salary increment offered them by management.

According to the statement, even though the workers were demanding for a 55 per 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 22 per 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 & Amortisation (EBITDA) profits,” it appealed.

The statement said management was hoping to build on this to retrofit and modernise the plant to improve efficiency and increase its capacity.

“This will see VALCO partnering with an investor to increase its production from the current 50,000 tonnes out of its 200,000 tonnes installed capacity to 300,000 tonnes of refined aluminium per year,” it emphasised.

The statement also denied the claims that the smelter had to be shutdown due to the fact that the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) cutting power supply to the company.

It said the decision to shut down the smelter was taken by the board due to its strategic importance to the development of the Integrated Aluminium Industry (IAI).


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