The COCOBOD workers union has dismissed calls by the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) for the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana COCOBOD, Dr. Steve Opuni to be removed from office.
The ICU on Thursday presented a petition to the Ministry of Employment and Labour relations seeking the dismissal of Dr. Opuni over what the union described as mismanagement of his portfolio.
The ICU also alleged that the ineffectiveness of the COCOBOD boss has resulted in the collapse of the West African Mills Company Limited (WAMCO).
The development follows a decision by the COCOBOD workers to break away from the ICU over its approach in dealing with workers’ welfare.
The Chairman of the Supreme Consultative Council of COCOBOD, Alhassan Iddris tells Citi Business News the allegations are unfounded.
“The ICU calling for the removal of Opuni is neither here nor there. Such a decision should rather be taken by stakeholders basically involving the government, we the workers of COCOBOD as well as the cocoa farmers if even there are problems,” he stated.
According toAlhassan Iddris, Dr. Opuni’s prudent management of the state institution has rather contributed to stabilizing the economy as it helped to restore the cedi following the $1.7 billion and $1.8 billion dollars cocoa syndicated loans contracted in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
“After assumption of office, Dr. Opuni has gone in for the syndicated loan of USD 1.7 billion to stabilize the condition of the country’s economy, having credence, he was able to pay that money and went in for another USD 1.8 billion that is ongoing and he will even finish paying that one too,” Alhassan Iddris added.
The COCOBOD workers union at a press conference also indicated that it suspects of some political influence in the ongoing impasse between the union and the ICU.
Though it would not readily disclose the individuals or groups behind that, the union Chairman, Alhassan Iddris hinted of some correspondences from the Employment Ministry which the group says it is uncomfortable with.
“The General Secretary of ICU is being engaged by the Employment Ministry and then consequently, letters are emanating from the Ministry, it can therefore be seen as if he is part of the development. Also the President has replied to the developments ensuing between the Ministry and the Ghana COCOBOD workers union, moreover you cannot respond to a letter in which you have been copied,” he explained.
He further stated, “It is alleged that some people like the Ministers and party members are part of it and with time we will come to let the whole world know whether it is true or not.”
COCOBOD breaks away from ICU
The decision to break away from the ICU began in April this year when the COCOBOD workers raised concerns over the latter’s lack of commitment to their welfare.
At the time, the COCOBOD workers cited attempts by the ICU to persuade its management to decline a thirty percent increase in salaries.
ICU was also cited for pushing for the Cocoa Marketing Company to be privatized and enhance efficiency.
But the Chairman of the Supreme Consultative Council of COCOBOD, Alhassan Iddris, maintained that the constitution permitted freedom of association hence their decision to form a new union which at the time had about 2000 members.
By: Pius Amihere Eduku/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana