Workers of the Electricity Corporation of Ghana are demanding a severance package ahead of the planned privatization under the Millennium Challenge Power Compact agreement.
The demand is a sudden change in strategy by the workers who for years have vehemently resisted the plan to privatize the power distribution company.
On Tuesday workers across the country wore red arm bands to demand the payment of the package before the compact agreement comes into full force.
Under the new Millennium Challenge Power Compact agreement program, Ghana will receive a US$469,300,000 with a new management.
The aim of the Ghana Power Compact is to create a financially viable power sector to meet the current and future needs of households and businesses, and to help fight poverty across the country.
Ahead of the privatization agreement, the workers are demanding a severance package.
Eastern Region Chair of the Public Utility Workers Union (PUWU) Abraham Lincoln says government has every right to continue any policy started by the previous government, including MiDA privatization of the Electricity Corporation but was quick to add that government must first pay them their severance package.
Quoting Section 65 subsection 2 of the labour Act he said if they are going to be put on secondment for the next 20 years under a new company then they deserve a severance package with the old company which is ECG.
According to him when workers of what used to be Omni Bus Transport Company were migrated onto the Metrobus Company, they were given a severance package, adding workers of the Public Utility Union also deserve a similar package.
But a labour expert Austin Ghammey said the workers’ demand is a bit simplistic.
He clarified that the call for severance package under Section 65 of the Labour Act only applies when the company is shutting down.
But in the case of the ECG, Ghammey said the company is not shutting down. It is only changing its management structure for which reason a call for severance package will not be legitimate.
A lot of patience is required from ECG workers to hold their peace and engage the new company that will takeover from ECG, he added.
Austin Ghammey said it is a bit too early for the workers to be demanding severance package. He would rather they engaged mofre with the new management.