The local unions of the Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority (GPHA) have begun their intended massive demonstration to protest the agreement signed with Meridian Ports Services (MPS) ceding the port operations to it.
The MPS-GPHA concession agreement signed under former President John Dramani Mahama administration in 2015 allows MPS to have monopolistic control over container shipment.
The aggrieved workers locked up the main marine gate to prevent anyone from entering as they have declared continuous massive demo until MPS comply with the directive of the presidency.
According to the workers, the MPS-GPHA deal was having dire implications on the GPHA workforce and the entire nation.
Speaking with the media, the Union Chairman, Emmanuel Arhin Young explained that the wicked nature of the deal compelled the Maritime Dockworkers Union (MDU) to petition the current presidency of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on the matter, which necessitated a cabinet meeting on the issues and concerns raised by the unions.
The fallout of the cabinet meeting, according to him, was that the President then directed the Transport Minister, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah to engage with both parties (MPS-GPHA) to ensure that the demands of GPHA workers were adhered to by MPS which include; GRA compliance with all refrigerated containerised cargo volumes from MPS to GPHA Reefer Terminal, GPHA to implement its intention of leasing Harbour Mobile Cranes for its containerised vessel operations, and GPHA be allowed to handle 20 percent of containerised cargo traffic during the ten-year exclusivity period.
He said though the aforementioned directives have been duly communicated to MPS with several reminders but MPS has failed to adhere to the directive of cabinet, especially on the 20 percent container volumes since 2019.
Mr. Arhin said that the non-adherence of MPS due to the inaction of Ofori Asiamah, on the directives of cabinet necessitated the local unions to engage both the management of GPHA and the Minister on the MPS-GPHA issues which sound frustrating and hopeless.
He said the local unions viewed this as an act of gross disrespect by MPS to cabinet, and by extension the President, for disregarding his cabinet-led directive over the period.
He mentioned that this is unacceptable because of its dire consequences, currently impacting negatively on the entire workforce and financial sustenance of the organisation in general, with workers of GHPAâ€™s conditions of service getting worse with the current economic situation of the country.
According to him, the Minister of Transportâ€™s failure to enforce cabinetâ€™s directives on the MPS-GPHA was becoming more frustrating for local unions.
That situation, he continued, has left the local unions with no option but to embark on a massive demonstration in the coming days to impress upon MPS to implement the directives of cabinet and by extension the President to the latter to help save the current situation of GPHA and the nation.