MDU, TUC Says MPS Should Cooperate With GPHA’s Modest Demand Of Handling 20% Of Eligible Vessels To Retain Revenue For The Country

The Maritime and Dockworkers Union of the Trades Union Congress, has expressed its displeasure towards the Meridian Ports Services’ lack of concern to negotiations with the Ghana Ports and Harbors Authority, regarding solutions to the negative effects of the MPS Terminal 3 contract on Ghana’s Port Authority.

According to the MDU a provision of the concession agreement, gives the Meridian Port Services exclusive rights to handle almost all containerized cargo in Tema Port, leaving the GPHA to handle only container vessels of less than 200 TEUs which is a rarity.

This, according to the MDU will have severe revenue repercussions on the GPHA, who may be forced to offload a projected 1,400 of its workers, in order to survive.

As a result, over the past few months, following a directive from the President Nana Akufo Addo, meetings have been organized to renegotiate the terms of the contract in order to make sure revenue and staff of GPHA are retained.

Speaking at a press conference organized by the MDU, in collaboration with the TUC, the General Secretary of the Maritime and Dockworkers Union, Daniel Owusu Koranteng said, MPS has failed to corporate with what he described as GPHA’s modest demand of handling 20% of eligible container vessels that call the Tema Port.

“According to GPHA when the modest demand of 20% of eligible vessels is granted, the authority would be able to have enough revenues to keep its workers and avoid job losses but MPS maintains that if we grant GPHA the right to work on 20% of eligible vessels it will amount to losing its investment protection,” he disclosed.

He said, MPS instead proposes to help find jobs for some of the workers who would lose their jobs, as well as pay those who cannot be employed immediately for 3 years and retrain them with the hope of making them employable in the future.

 “In our view the proposals of MPS are only palliatives which will not be able to address the important issues of revenue generation for GPHA, job creation and the problem of job loss. Such a proposal will convert GPHA from a landlord status to a vulnerable entity that can survive dole outs from its tenant, where MPS is the tenant,” he said.

 This lack of cooperation and delay by MPS to conclude on a tangible solution for GPHA’s sustenance as a strong national institution, according to the MDU is threatening national economic security.

“Currently GPHA is a providing employment opportunities for hundreds of thousands of permanent workers, national service personnel, contact staff etc. We expect government to support GPHA to create jobs for our people and generate revenue for government. This is in contrast to the low employment generation by MPS and the repatriation of profits by multinationals to their home countries,” he said.

It is however the clear intention of the MDU, and the TUC via the press conference to drum home its relentless call, to ensure Meridian Port Services cooperates by agreeing to the modest demand of GPHA handling 20% of eligible vessels that call the Tema Port.

They believe this is a step in the right direction to restore GPHA as a state agency that has been a reference point of excellence, for the socio-economic development of the nation.

The Deputy Secretary General of the Trades Union Congress, Joshua Ansah emphasized that considering the pivotal national asset that the Ghana Ports and Harbors Authority is, the TUC is resolved to do whatever it can to ensure, GPHA does not lose its value as a result of the poor port concession agreement.

“All citizens of this country should make it a point to know that where there is no GPHA, about millions of Ghanaians will suffer and for that matter we will not allow this to happen. The TUC wants to pledge its support with the Maritime and Dockworkers Union in this struggle,” he stated.


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