Workers crying as MD & Others Feed Fat
By Alfred K. Dogbey
Tension is mounting at the Graphic Communication Group Limited, the nation’s biggest selling newspaper, over poor conditions of service for workers as management, led by Ken Ashigbe, the Managing Director (MD) is accused of feeding on fat salaries and allowances.
For instance, Mr. Ashigbe’s take-home salary is GH¢13,500.00, excluding certain allowances, and junior staff who had worked in the company for decades are taking home paltry GH¢ 480, monthly.
The workers say management is constantly complaining about low sales as the reason for denying them salary increment. But surprisingly, some editors and technicians are pocketing as much as GH¢9,264.59 and GH¢ 9,678.64 respectively, higher than what Ministers of State, take home.
Insiders told The Herald that the least payment receive by the lowest management staff as salary, is GH¢ 2,672.11.
Attempt by the workers through their labour union, Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) to get discrepancies in the salaries resolved through dialogue with the management, have been met with strong opposition.
Management, The Herald gathered, insisted it can only increase workers’ salaries by an insignificant 13 per cent across board. An offer, the workers strictly kicked against at three successive meetings with management, prompting the management to drag the Local Workers’ Union, led by Henry Addo to the National Labour Commission (NLC).
The workers complain that management is treating them like slaves, denying them their due, while they feed fat on bigger salaries and huge allowances, from other sources of revenue generations, including monies from advertisements.
According to the workers, there is no clear procedure to determine conditions of service of individual employees at Graphic Communication.
Sometimes, one enjoys a better salary, depending on his or her closeness or family ties to a member of top management. An employee’s sex, especially females, has also influenced salary enhancement and juicy packages.
For example, newly-employed Director for Marketing, Shirley Acquah-Harrison, was bought a brand new car and her rent allowance paid, as part of her benefits, just on her first day of work.
A senior management staff who spoke with The Herald, noted that certain offices in the company were of no relevance and should have been scrapped long ago, to pave way for proper restructuring of the state-owned company and a redirection of those salaries.
Some existing offices, in his view, have just been created purposely for families, cronies of some management staff.
The Herald has in its possession, pay slip of all seventy-four management staff and their fat allowances, as recent as August 26, 2013.
Shockingly, despite the fat benefit management has been enjoying, they are presently pushing a new proposal for approval by the Graphic
Communications Board for grade 12, 11, 10, 9 and 8 to receive a weekly fuel allocation of 70, 70, 65, 55 and 55 litres, respectively.
Again, should the Board approve the new proposals; management will receive an annual clothing allowance of GH¢ 3,500 for grade 12 and 11, GH¢ 2,500 for grade 10 and 9 whilst grade 8 and 7 will take GH¢ 1,500.
Last Thursday, October, 24, at about 1:00pm the ICU called for an emergency meeting strictly for members at the premises of “Mirror House,” where a strike action and other issues were discussed as the next line of action.
The meeting was addressed by Mr. Solomon Kotei,- National ICU General Secretary and accompanied by Emmanuel Baniman –Deputy Secretary and Morgan Awini – Deputy Secretary, Operation among other top ranking union executives.
At the meeting, Union Members warned leadership that any negotiation short of a 40 per cent increment would be rejected.
They threatened a strike action, should management and the Board insist on their entrenched 13 per cent increment.
Later, an agreement was reached for the union members to take the matter to the company’s biggest shareholder, government for the issue to be looked into thoroughly.