Tension is rising at Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) as workers there are up in arms with management over the non-payment of bonuses since the New Patriotic Party (NPP) came to power almost two years, ago.
This month, the workers will not get any bonuses, in spite of the bumper harvest in the cocoa sector, and the Board Chairman, Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, has explained that, because his Board, increased the salaries of the over 900 staff by 10 percent, a call for another bonus, will be “very unreasonable”.
But the workers, singling out the Board Chairman, they accused him of usurping the authority of the Chief Executive Officer, Joseph Boahen Aidoo and called on President Akufo-Addo to remove him.
They also, among other things, said Mr. Owusu-Agyeman, does not listen to their concerns and accused him of not having their interests at heart.
In response to the workers’ concerns on Adom FM’s morning show, on Thursday, the COCOBOD Board Chairman, said the attempt by the staff to malign him was borne out of his transformational agenda at the state-owned firm.
“If you work and you don’t get profit, why do we pay bonus? We want to do the best for the cocoa industry. The demands are simply unreasonable,” he bemoaned.
Mr Owusu-Agyeman, expressed shock at the conduct of the staff.
“COCOBOD needs 500 staff but we inherited over 900 staff and we decided to sack 400 but President Akufo-Addo pleaded with us to retain them. We have even increased their salaries by 10 percent so what again do they want,” he asked.
The COCOBOD Board Chairman, said his outfit was nursing a GH¢1.9 billion debt, thus overspending their budget will spell doom for the entity.
He urged the staff to be efficient in their work, to ensure they get bonuses in the coming years.
Mr Owusu-Agyeman, also revealed that the salary of the CEO of COCOBOD, Mr. Boahene Adu, has been slashed by 30 percent.
The decision, he noted, was reached due to their inability to pay the existing monthly salary of GH¢70,000 the previous CEOs were taking.
Aside the CEO, Mr Owusu-Agyemang, said the salaries of Deputy Directors, have also been slashed to ensure value for money.
He added that salaries being paid to former CEO and other managers of the company, were outrageous and not sustainable.
The board chairman, noted that despite the cut, some top managers of COCOBOD, will still earn more than the president and other Article 71 office holders which is pegged around GH¢22,000.
He was, however, happy the current CEO, Joseph Boahene Adu and other Directors, have no qualms about the salary reduction.
Mr Owusu Agyemang, also revealed that board members of COCOBOD take a monthly salary of GH¢2,000 with the Chairman taking GH¢2,500, adding the reduction in salaries has saved the company some money.