GPHA workers block access to port

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Work at the Tema Port came to a temporary halt yesterday morning when workers of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) blocked access to the facility as part of a series of demonstrations over what they said were attempts by the Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to direct the Meridian Port Services (MPS) to retain refrigerated imports at the new port.

More than 500 workers, who took over the main transport yard at the entrance of the port, maintained that they were surprised that while a communique from the Presidency to the workers union indicated that the execution of the concession agreement was to be temporarily suspended until issues relating to job losses were addressed, they were taken aback by the conduct of the GRA, which, they said, would go to make the GPHA’s 800 twenty-equivalent unit (TEU) refrigerated yard (Reefer Yard) redundant.

Draped in red attire and red band, the group chanted songs, amid calls on the government to, as a matter of urgency, instruct the GRA to immediately suspend the arrangement with MPS.

Clients

Majority of port users who turned up at the entrance of the main port for business between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. were forced to make a U-turn as a result of the blockade.

The demonstration was, however, peaceful as police from the Marine Police Unit, who were at the facility to maintain law and order, were seen idling around with nothing really to do since the demonstrators confined themselves to the transport yard at the entrance of the port.

Renegotiations

The group also demanded from the government to include the union in the renegotiation arrangements with the MPS.

Describing the massive gathering as a climax of a 10-week protestations marked by the workers’ union since March 2019, the Chairmen of the senior and junior staff unions, Messer’s John Aseph and Emmanuel Neequaye, reiterated that the union wanted the status quo on vessel allocations between the GPHA and MPS to remain.

Addressing the workers, they stated that a six-week period promise given by the President to outline modalities for discussions to address the contentious issues of container business and job losses in the agreement elapsed yesterday.

They pointed out that the communique from the Ministry of Transport to the union detailed that whereas the new port was to commence commercial operations, the concession’s execution ought to be suspended owing to the contending issues.

They maintained that whereas the union was excited by the communique calling on the GPHA and the MPS and all relevant partners to sit and look at the possible clauses that could be reviewed to the benefit of all stakeholders, they were taken aback at the latest twist to the retention of refrigerated imports at the new port until all duties and taxes were paid.

“We are clearly not happy about this new arrangement and if we should see anything different from the existing status quo, we will resist it forcefully,” the leadership of the union warned.

The group also called on the government through the Ministries of Finance and Transport to call the GRA to order to review the instructions on the transfer of containers.

They maintained that whereas the union was excited by the communique calling on the GPHA and the MPS and all relevant partners to sit and look at the possible clauses that could be reviewed to the benefit of all stakeholders, they were taken aback at the latest twist to the retention of refrigerated imports at the new port until all duties and taxes were paid.

“We are clearly not happy about this new arrangement and if we should see anything different from the existing status quo, we will resist it forcefully,” the leadership of the union warned.

The group also called on the government through the Ministries of Finance and Transport to call the GRA to order to review the instructions on the transfer of containers.

source: graphic.com.gh

 

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