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Jun 20, 2017 

Frank Appiah Okyere, General Secretary of the MPS Enterprise-Based Union (EBU) of Meridian Ports Services (MPS), has asked worker unions to increasingly use dialogue in securing enhanced working conditions for workers rather than resorting to strike actions.

According to him, the modern trend of unionism focuses more on dialogue and negotiations that are linked to productivity, adding that there is the need to avoid laying down of tools.

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“In modern day unionism, it is better to dialogue for enhanced conditions,” he told ADR Daily in Tema.

Using the experience at Meridian Ports Services as an example, he said the union strives to effectively apply the principles of enterprise-based unionism, which promotes all-inclusiveness, by engaging in dialogue with management over workers’ concerns.

That, he said, has helped to avoid conflicts and standoffs which lead to strike actions.

“We have not embarked on any demonstration for the past six years,” he said, adding that dialogue helps management and workers to appreciate each other’s concerns.

“It is not that the union cannot bite, but in modern day unionism, it is better to dialogue,” he stressed.

According to him, strike actions, which adversely affect productivity, impact negatively on companies, adding that all workers eventually bear the cost of such actions.

Naturally, workers and management would always disagree on working conditions, but dialogue and negotiations would always provide a mutually acceptable middle ground, he noted.

According to him, unions should not only be interested in the welfare of workers but do more to promote productivity which would help to enhance profit for the benefit of all.

He explained that once productivity and profit levels increase, the unions would have substantial justification for enhanced conditions of service.

Touching on the conditions of employment in Meridian Port Service, which marked its 10th anniversary earlier this year, he said although efforts have been made to keep it at appreciable levels, there was more room for improvement.

“Workers believe it is time our conditions of service and welfare are enhanced,” he said, adding that such a move would help to motivate the workforce to achieve more.

He believed that the company, which controls about 80 per cent of Ghana’s port services market, could do more for the workforce.

He commended the management of the MPS, led by the Chief Executive Office, Mohammed Samara for the vision which has resulted in the expansion of the operations of the company and gave assurance of the unalloyed support of the workers’ union towards achieving their goals.

Meridian Port Services Limited (MPS) is a joint venture between the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority and Meridian Port Holdings Limited, with Bolloré Transport & Logistics and APM Terminals as the two principal shareholders.

MPS is currently undertaking the $1.5billion Tema Port Expansion project which is expected to create over 5,000 jobs, expand trade flows and enable Ghana to serve as an effective maritime trade hub in West Africa.

By Samuel Mingle/adrdaily.com

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ADR Daily is a specialized news portal with a focus on providing authentic news, information and research analysis on Appropriate Dispute Resolution (ADR), Human Resource Management (HRM) and Industrial Relations Management (IRM) in Ghana and beyond. This platform serves as an information resource base for the progress of the ADR, HRM and IRM industries, and seeks to promote professionalism in ADR practice by supporting a network of ADR professionals within and across nations and continents. ADR Daily keenly encourages the mass adoption of ADR mechanisms, particularly negotiation, mediation and arbitration for the resolution of disputes in all spheres, through the publication of industry news and information, as well as by deploying innovative awareness creation engagements.