PURC: Agitating staff must be charged for ‘loss of productivity’

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Labour consultant, Ben Arthur, says a lockout staged by workers of the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) on Thursday was unlawful, and has called for sanctions.

According to him, the agitating staff who put locks on the offices of the regulator and prevented other workers from performing their duties breached the labour law because they failed to give prior notice about their action.

“It is not appropriate to stage a lockout without the necessary notification to the National Labour Commission. That is the position of the law...if any employer intends to stage a lockout, there is the need to notify those involved and especially the National Labour Commission; and you have to wait for seven days to expire before you can really institute a lockout,” he said.

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BEN ARTHUR

Photo: Ben Arthur

The nationwide lockout, according to the staff of the utilities regulator was to protest the continued stay in office of the Executive Secretary of the institution, Samuel Sarpong, who is alleged to be involved in financial malfeasance.

Chairman of the PURC Workers’ Union, Abubakar Jabaru, said the decision to lockout the offices follows a resolution reached by executive members of the union after a meeting on Wednesday, September 6, 2017.

Some top officials at the PURC have been embroiled in possible misappropriation of funds.

Related: Joy News exclusive: PURC pays almost ¢450,000 into Boss' personal account

PURC logo

Joy News' Kwetey Nartey in May this year uncovered the alleged financial malfeasance -- Mr Sarpong and then Head of Public Relations, Nana Yaa Jantuah, are neck deep in the allegations.

Nana Yaa Jantuah resigned from her position amid investigation into the allegations by the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), but Mr Sarpong remains in office.

Related: PURC staff petition Chief of Staff over 'mismanaging' Management

Mr Jabaru said the agitation on Thursday was fueled in part by news that there are ongoing plans to bring back Madam Jantuah – a move the staff are severely opposed to.

PURC Samuel Sarpong Nana Yaa Jantuah

Photo: Nana Yaa Jantuah (L) and Mr Sarpong

However, speaking on current affairs programme, PM Express on the Joy News channel on MultiTV on Thursday evening, the Labour Consultant said the concerns of the staff notwithstanding, there was the need to follow due process.

“I think that those who instituted the lockout need to be charged for loss of productivity, every loss incurred because that is the position of the law. [The lockout] is unlawful and the law allows that everything lost because of the lockout can be taken from those who instituted it,” he said.

He notes that workers of the utilities regulator fall under the essential services providers who by law are forbidden from embarking on such sudden strikes.

“The time has come for people in Ghana – employers and organised labour – to know that they are partners in business,” he counseled.

Watch more in the video link below.