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TUC Blasts ICU …Over Disgraceful May Day Behaviour

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The Trades Union Congress (TUC) says it has no hand in what it describes as the “disrespectful behaviour” of some members of the Commercial Workers Union (ICU) during the May Day Parade in Accra.

According to the Union, at the parades in Accra and across the country, ICU members carried placards with inscriptions purposely designed to tarnish the image of its Secretary General, Dr. Yaw Baah, in the presence of the President, the Vice President and other dignitaries,.

In the view of TUC, the ICU members created so much noise that it difficult for other participants present at the Parade to hear any of the speeches, including the one delivered by the President, Nana Akufo-Addo.

The Union noted that, “Since that unwarranted action by ICU leaders and some of its members, led by Reverend Solomon Kotei (the General Secretary of ICU), we have received so many calls from members of the TUC Family, members from other Organised Labour Groups and other well-meaning Ghanaians who wanted to know the reason(s) why leaders and some members of ICU should do that on a Workers’ Day of Solidarity.”

In a statement issued in Accra yesterday, Dr. Baah described behavior of the ICU members as disgraceful.

“On behalf of members of Organised Labour, I would like to apologize for the disrespectful bevahiour of ICU leaders and members who were involved that disgraceful action.”

The TUC Scribe reiterated the Union’s position that ICU is not an affiliate of TUC, stressing that ICU disaffiliated from TUC almost 15 years ago, following some disagreements between ICU and TUC.

He added that “Despite all efforts to get ICU to vacate its offices in the TUC Head Office Building located at Barnes Road in Accra (opposite Accra Technical University) after the disaffiliation, ICU refused to move out, claiming the building was donated by the CPP Government to all workers of Ghana.

Dr. Baah recalled that the TUC leadership borrowed money from government to finance the construction of its Head Office Building (known as Trade Union Hall) adding that “Then TUC partnered with a construction company which constructed part of the building. Upon completion of the building in 1960, the CPP government decided to convert the loan into a grant so TUC did not have to pay back the loan.”

“At the opening ceremony of the Hall of Trade Unions in Accra on 9th July, 1960 President Nkrumah said: “Today, we have met here to celebrate the official opening of the Hall of Trade Unions, which will be the permanent offices of the Trades Union Congress”. Thus, the donation of the building to TUC was in recognition of TUC’s invaluable contribution to the social, economic and political development of the country, particularly its contribution to the attainment of independence in 1957.”

The TUC general Secretary, among other things said TUC allocated some offices in the building to its affiliates, including ICU at the time and that The Trade Union Hall has since remained the Head Office of TUC and National Unions affiliated to TUC.

“It should be noted again that ICU has a 4-storey building at Kokomlemle. Part of the building has been converted to a hotel and the rest rented out as offices. It was expected that ICU would move out of the Trade Union Hall following its disaffiliation from TUC to its own building, but they refused to move out.”

Dr. Baah Further claimed: “For nearly 15 years after ICU disaffiliated from TUC, ICU never paid rent to TUC. It did not pay for water and it did not pay for refuse collection. ICU enjoyed all these services free of charge, including the use of TUC’s generator during power outages.”

He argued that TUC took the matter to court with the aim of establishing the true ownership of the building but the case is still pending.

He disclosed that in 2017, the TUC leadership took a decision to refurbish the building because it had not seen any major refurbishment since 1960, after it had deteriorated so much so that the health and safety of occupants was in jeopardy.

“The building, therefore, needed massive and comprehensive refurbishment to improve its structural integrity and functional use, to arrest the continued decay of the building, to provide an appropriate face-lift of a building befitting the status of TUC, and to enhance security, convenience, comfort and improved visual landscape”, he said among others.

 

By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson

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