Although no form of resolution has been reached between cocoa carriers and the Cocoa Marketing Company (CMC) and its contractors, some of the carriers in Tema have returned to work.
When the Daily Graphic visited the COCOBOD warehouse in Tema yesterday, the carriers, who hitherto had massed up at the main entrance of the warehouse in protest, had deserted the area, while cocoa that had arrived earlier in the week was being offloaded into the storage facilities.
The Daily Graphic was informed that the contractors, who had earlier resorted to the use of casual labourers to carry the cocoa, had managed to infiltrate the ranks of the protesting cocoa carriers and convinced some of them to resume work, contrary to the general strike declared by their leadership.
“We need money and we can’t sit and watch others take over our job which feeds our families. Our foremen called some of us and explained things to us and some of us felt we should return to work, while our leaders engage the directors at the top to amicably find a solution.
“This is the work that feeds our families, and with schools reopening, we have to work and make some money,” one of the cocoa carriers said.
One of the leaders of the striking carriers at the Tema warehouse, Mr Richard Broni, said although they had not called off the strike, some of the contractors and foremen had managed to convince some of the members in Tema to resume work, a development which he described as worrying.
That notwithstanding, he said, the cocoa carriers were unperturbed but resolute in their demand for the CMC to increase the fee for carrying a bag of cocoa from 62Gp to GH¢1.
He said the leadership of cocoa carriers in Tema, Kumasi and Takoradi would meet to discuss the way forward.
He further appealed to COCOBOD to employ the cocoa carriers directly instead of outsourcing the recruitment to individuals, some of whom were directors at the CMC.
The cocoa carriers turned down an offer of 82Gp per bag at a meeting organised by COCOBOD with other stakeholders last Thursday.
In a bid to avert a crisis situation in the industry, contractors of the CMC, which engages the cocoa carriers, adopted a temporary measure by engaging temporary workers, including inmates of prisons, to offload and stack cocoa beans at the Tema warehouse.
Policemen were also deployed to the warehouse to maintain law and order.
The management of the CMC in Tema declined to comment on the impact of the strike when the Daily Graphic visited the facility last Monday.