President Nana Akufo-Addo met with the leadership of the Maritime and Dockworkers Union as well as the executives of the Staff union of Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority comprising workers from Tema and Takoradi at the Jubilee House on Thursday, 16th of May, 2019.
The meeting was necessitated by recent agitations by the staff of Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority and employees of other Port, Maritime and Shipping related businesses over what the workers had described as delay or reluctance on the part of government in re-examining a concession agreement between Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority and Meridian Port Service which has allowed the latter to expand the Port of Tema into about three time its current size.
The TUC and the Ghana Maritime and Dock Workers Union has in recent times taken the matter quite seriously and expressed concerns about the deal which they believe will lead to job losses.
The TUC General Secretary, Dr. Anthony Yaw Baah also conspicuously highlighted the issue at the recent May Day Parade.
“When the new terminal commences operation in June, with the monopolistic rights given to MPS, Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority and other operators at the Tema Port are going to lose huge revenues that may lead to the collapse of many container-related businesses. This will translate into massive job losses in the Maritime industry. GPHA may declare over 1400 workers redundant in 2019 alone,” he said.
But addressing the unionized group at the Jubilee House, the President, Nana Akufo-Addo, expressed the view that the concession agreement involves an important foreign investor who has been supportive to the country over the years, hence the need for circumspection in making demands for further negotiations.
“From the time I got into office, the whole of the MPS Tema Port expansion saga is one of the big investments I came to inherit, and indeed the minister of Transport has engaged with you on several occasions. But, the way the matter was being escalated in the public spaces especially by yourself, I felt that it is only right that in the system of government that we have, you engage with me directly. So that is why I extended this invitation for us to come and sit down and talk,” he expressed.
The President held most parts of the meeting in closed doors but generally assured the unionized updating the labour groups in the very near future.
Present at the meeting included, the Minister of Transport, Kweku Ofori Asiamah, The Board Chairman of Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Peter Mac Manu and the Director General of GPHA, Michael Luguje.