Leaders of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) Ghana have condemned what they describe as the unauthorized ejection of the ICU from the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC) building in Accra by its former mother union.
ICU currently has its offices on the third floor of the five-storey building.
Addressing members of the ICU and journalists in Accra yesterday, the General Secretary of the ICU, Mr Solomon Kotei, affirmed the resolve of the ICU not to vacate the building on the orders of the TUC.
His speech was interrupted intermittently with shouts of ‘tsoboi’ ‘tsoboi’ and roars of “tell them”, “oh”, “it won’t happen” by the members of the ICU who thronged the premises of the TUC building, some arriving as early as 5 a.m., to support their leaders before they reported for work.
Mr Kotei recalled that the building was bequeathed to the 10 workers unions in the 1960s by former President Kwame Nkrumah, in appreciation of their contribution to the struggle for the country’s independence.
“Indeed, when this building was bequeathed to the national unions, ICU was mentioned in the ordinance that was gazetted,” he pointed out.
Mr Kotei explained that the move to eject the ICU started in 2011 when the TUC filed a writ at an Accra High Court, seeking to eject the ICU, ostensibly because the union disaffiliated itself from the TUC in 2005.
The ICU, he said, was currently the largest heterogeneous trade union organisation in the country, with a membership of more than 100,000, and had resolved not to vacate its offices while renovations were ongoing on the TUC building.
Pointing to the building, he said: “This has, since the 1960s, been owned and occupied by a number of national unions or worker organisations in Ghana, including the ICU Ghana. The truth is that we are here till kingdom come.”
He said the TUC had made a number of attempts since 2011 to eject the ICU from the building, adding that on April 26, 2018, the TUC wrote to the ICU and the other national unions which had offices in the building to vacate by August 2018 for the renovation of the place and that the works would last 29 months.
Mr Kotei warned that the ICU would take legal action against the contractors undertaking the renovation works should they tamper with water and electricity supply to the ICU offices.
After accusing the TUC of not being transparent with the cost of the renovation, he challenged the congress to come clear on who the contractors for the renovation were and the cost of the renovation works.
He said the TUC had shared the cost of the so-called renovation of the building among all the national unions occupying the building, without apportioning part of the cost to lCU-Ghana, although the ICU was a part owner of the building.
Mr Solomon Kotei addressing members of the ICU and journalists in Accra on Monday.
“This quickly made the ICU see through the covert and diabolic intention of the TUC, to wit, to ostracise the lCU from the comity of trade unions fraternity in the building and deprive it of its inalienable right to be part of the ownership of the Hall of Trades Unions.
“Having discerned the ulterior motive of the TUC, the ICU then became more than ever determined not to move an inch from the Hall of Trades Unions to allow the TUC to execute its anti-worker plan against the largest segment of Ghanaian workers who are members of the ICU,” Mr Kotei said.
He cited other office buildings that had been renovated without the occupants vacating them, such as the headquarters of the Ghana Water Company, the Ghana Cocoa Board and two buildings of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) which were still being renovated.