Workers at the Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO) have rejected a 22% increment in salary from Management of the Company, describing it as insufficient.
In what should have come as a welcoming news to the over 300 workers, at a time where the country is experiencing an economic downturn, is rather being met with stiff opposition from the workers who staged a demonstration in the early hours of Monday, October 31, 2022, refusing some Management Members entry into the facility.
Sources close to the Asaase News revealed that, the workers after a series of negotiations led by their union executives, made a demand of 55% salary increment to the Management of VALCO. In response, the Management of VALCO, offered to grant a 22% increment in salaries for the workers with the assurance of further increment in the future as steps are being taken to retrofit the plant.
Management of VALCO appealed to the workers to consider the current state of the Aluminium Smelter which, for years, has been recording loses until the year 2021 where, through prudent management and better supervision, chalked some modest gains recording Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation & Amortization (EBITDA) profits.
According to Management, they are hoping to build on this and retrofit and modernize the plant to improve efficiency and increase its capacity. This will see VALCO partnering with an investor to increase its production from the current 50,000 tonnes out of its 200,000 tonnes installed capacity to 300,000 tonnes of refined aluminium per year.
Management of VALCO further indicated to the workers union executives that they will have to invite an independent arbiter in labour/industrial disputes settlement i.e the National Labour Commission (NLC), to take-up the matter after negotiations between Management and the workers ended up in a stalemate.
However, the workers will have none of this and staged a demonstration against the Management of VALCO, calling for better conditions of service and the immediate dismissal of some Management members who they describe as ‘retirees’.
Following the announcement of a 15% Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) for workers in the Public Service by Government in July 2022 in the face of what government describes as a ‘global crisis’, the declaring of losses for more than a decade by VALCO and a nosedive in the prices of Aluminium prices, a 22% increment in salaries, amidst all the difficulties, should be a good step towards addressing the conditions of service of any worker.