….. … Head To Court
Austin Akuffo Gamey, the labour consultant representing SGS/ GCNet in the current impasse involving the payment of severance packages to redundant staff has told the National Labour Commission (NLC) that the Award of the Arbitration Panel using the Commission’s rules will not be respected.
In a Friday 0ctober 2, 2020 meeting summoned by the NLC to order SGS/GCNet to respect the Award of the Arbitration Panel which is final, binding and enforceable with immediate effect, Mr. Gamey told the Commission Chairman, they would rather head to the law court to challenge the Arbitration Award.
The decision to challenge the Arbitration Award at the Courts after the request for review by Austin Gamey and SGS/ GCNet was thrown out, is seen by labour analysts as clear waste of time and also to frustrate redundant staff.
Shocked redundant staff are at a loss that SGS/GCNet which trumpeted its hallmark of integrity and professionalism as a law-abiding entity is deliberately acting in bad faith in blatant disregard for its internal HR policy and Labour Act of Ghana on imprudent counsel which will prove costly.
Meanwhile, GCNet Staff Welfare Association has communicated to Management its decision to resume the suspended strike action with immediate effect in accordance with section 159 of the Labour Act withdrawing all support services including services provided by some redundant staff.
In a letter of notice of resumption of industrial action signed by the Association Chairman, Mr. Felix Agbodeka urged Management to immediately settle all redundancy payments in accordance with the September 4, 2020 Award by the Arbitration Panel of the NLC.
It will be recalled that days after the September 4, 2020 Arbitration Award, GCNet Executive Management / SGS in its continued demonstration of acting in bad faith towards staff refused to respect the Award of the Arbitration Panel and approached the National Labour Commission (NLC) to review the arbitration award.
The NLC in a letter dated September 25, 2020 dismissed the request for review citing Section 158 (1) of the Labour Act 2003 (Act 651) which provides that ‘the decision of the Arbitrator or majority of the Arbitrators shall constitute the Award and shall be binding on all parties.’
The arrow head letter also firmly reminded the Austin Gamey, SGS &GCNet that section 58 of the ADR Act 2010 (Act 798) clearly spells out the grounds and procedure for setting aside an Arbitration Award.
On June 30, 2020, Executive Management refused to respect the terms of disengagement which culminated in a series of discussions between Welfare Association representing staff and Executive Management representing SGS/ GCNet. Following a deadlock in discussions, the matter was jointly referred to the National Labour Commission (NLC) on August 11, 2020 by parties involved which ended in Arbitration for resolution.
An Arbitration Panel was jointly selected by the parties and the NLC. The parties selected one arbitrator each from the list of arbitrators and the NLC selected a Chairman to constitute the three member panel.
On September 4, 2020, the NLC appointed Arbitration Panel ruled in favour of affected staff upholding HRPM Article 1901(f) of the GCNet HR Policy Manual to be respected without any variation or adjustment and also ordered that the effective date of redundancy was August 31, 2020 which should be regarded as the last day of employment for each employee, with clear instruction to pay August salaries to affected staff