About 800 dock workers who were engaged permanently by stevedore companies at both the Tema and Takoradi ports, have been turned into casual workers.
This is as a result of the increased number of stevedore companies operating at the ports. According to the Maritime and Dockworkers Union, the stevedore companies which were seven as at 2016, have been increased to 25, representing a 300 percent increase.
The increase in the number of stevedore companies, has reduced the cargo throughput for individual companies leading to unhealthy competition as well as job losses.
The Union says while the number of companies have increased by 300 percent, the increase in cargo quantity has only seen a 10 percent increase.
Stevedore companies solely owned by Ghanaians and licensed by the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, (GPHA) are responsible for offloading vessels.
Speaking to Citi Business News, General Secretary of the Maritime and Dock Workers Union, Daniel Owusu Koranteng said the policy which allows the GPHA to register more companies must be reviewed.
He lamented that “Even when the campiness were seven, they had about two vessels in a month but now it’s once or nothing in six months. The companies are either sacking the workers or making them casuals. They tell them that they cannot pay them.”
The Union believes there is a possibility that the number of stevedore companies may continue to increase and has therefore decided to petition the president to have their grievances addressed. They want government to as a matter of urgency hold stakeholder consultations on its policy direction for the maritime industry with an active participation with the Maritime and dock workers union.
The companies employ some 2000 people. The dock workers hold the view that the current situation has the tendency to render the country’s ports inefficient.