The Railway Workers Union of Ghana have expressed worry about the apparent lack of commitment on the part of government to resolve financial challenges facing the Ghana Railway Company Limited (GRCL), warning the company faces imminent shutdown without immediate capital injection.
With a staff strength of about 1000, the union said the financial woes of the state-owned company could lead to its shutdown, which it said will, in turn, affect the workers and their dependents.
“Our workers have not been paid for three months and if August should end, it would be four months. Our social security (SSNIT) contributions or payments are in arrears since October 2022. Tier two pension payments for workers have also not been settled since May 2022,” Godwill Ntarmah, General Secretary of the Railway Workers Union of Ghana, said.
Mr. Ntarmah spoke at a press conference in Takoradi regarding the disturbing financial position of Ghana Railways and how the workers are suffering and disappointed in the government’s lack of commitment to revive the company.
According to him, workers’ deductions or contributions to their various credit unions, such as the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authourity (GPHA) Credit Union and the Railway Union Cooperation Mutual Assistant Society (RUCOMAS), have also not been paid since 2021.
“Another issue of great concern to us is the determination of the fate of the GRCL retrenched staff of 2006, which need to be addressed by the government” he added.
As a wholly state-owned company, he said GRCL is facing serious challenges operating on the existing narrow-gauge rail line, which is in a very bad state coupled with the old-aged rolling stock resulting in series of derailment every now and then.
“These challenges have resulted in serious financial constraints which easily qualify the company as highly indebted company (HIPC),” he lamented.
He said workers expect some form of support from the government as it was the practice in the past.
He said the union strongly disagrees with the assertion that the company is a limited liability and therefore, should be able to work and generate enough to fund itself: “We disagree with this assertion. It is impossible for the company to generate enough funds to sustain itself”.
Mr. Ntarmah disclosed that frantic efforts by the leadership of the union to get President Nana Akufo-Addo’s attention have proven futile.
“We have no option than to engage you and use your medium to appeal to the President for an engagement with us to save GRCL from a total collapse. We are frustrated and disillusioned and we pray the President will hear us and give the needed audience,” he concluded.