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ICU/GAWU Threaten To Expose Rot At Cocobod   
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Unionized workers in the cocoa industry have accused COCOBOD Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Stephen Opuni, of arm twisting and have therefore threatened to open the can of worms which will expose the “rot and canker” in the sector.

Two unions, Industrial and Commercial Workers' Union (ICU) and the General Agricultural Workers' Union (GAWU) of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), who issued the threat last week, also accused Dr. Opuni of deliberately plotting to break the labor front at COCOBOD so he can have his way.

The unions said Dr. Opuni is “earning a salary over and above any Public Sector Chief Executive in this country, including the Governor of the Bank of Ghana” threatening that, “in the period ahead we are going to come up with a full exposure of the rot and canker at Cocobod.”

The unions alleged that Dr. Opuni and his management have given a contract to a former employee called Harrison Idris Hassan, who is the past Chairman of Cocobod Head Office Local Union and Supreme Consultative Council of the cocoa industry; and the man is allegedly determined to destroy the long-standing union.

At a news conference jointly held by the ICU and GAWU seeking to correct what they termed 'falsehood and deceit of workers in the cocoa industry,' the unions said Idris Hassan was coercing the workers to join another illegal union with the tacit support of Dr. Opuni and the management.

“He is being aided by Cocobod Chief Executive and management to go round to coerce unsuspecting workers of Cocobod to sign unto an unregistered in-house union he is forming,” Solomon Kotei and Kingsley Ofei-Nkansah, General Secretaries of the ICU and GAWU said in the joint statement.

According to them, the ICU and GAWU had been the registered and accredited national unions that hold the Collective Bargaining Certificate for the conduct of negotiations and had operated for about 62 years; but since Dr. Opuni arrived at Cocobod, “there has not been any smooth negotiation.”

The unions further said that to facilitate Dr. Opuni's plans, he offered Idris Hassan a contract which was even signed six months before he (Idris Hassan) retired and has since formed an in-house union “to serve his personal interest rather than the aspirations of workers.”

According to the General Secretaries, “Those who have questioned the credibility and the rationale behind this in-house union have been victimized through transfers from unit to unit and from one region to another, some within one month, having been transferred twice for no apparent reason, and this affected union leaders and other clerical staff who resisted the union busting tactics of the Chief Executive.”

ICU and GAWU said the question as to whether the in-house union could break away from them was a subject of litigation before a high court yet to commence, but Idris Hassan had allegedly been claiming he had already won the case.

They said Dr. Opuni had “blatantly refused to negotiate with the accredited unions” but “found reason to sit down with a retiree and imposed a 20% salary increase on the workers.”

Meanwhile, a letter dated February 1, 2016 and addressed to Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, and copied to the Chief of Staff, which accused Dr Opuni of creating a culture of silence in COCOBOD through intimidation, is yet to be acted upon by the Labour Minister.
Source: New Crusading Guide

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