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The labour dispute between Ghana’s telecom workers and their employers over demands for improved conditions of service is heading for compulsory arbitration to seek a resolution.

The agreement to go for compulsory arbitration was reached at a crunch meeting on Friday at the National Labour Commission between the Telecom and IT Professionals Union (TIP) and their subcontract employers; Reliance Personnel Services Limited, Reime Ghana Limited, MP Infrastructure Ghana Limited, and Linfra Ghana Limited.

The agreement is one of the three demands sought by the union, without which the telecom workers would embark on a strike on Monday, which can cripple the country’s telecommunication system.

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The union, whose members are mostly outsourced engineers, technicians, IT professionals, and other allied workers managing the technical operations of the three major telecom companies, MTN, Vodafone, and AirtelTigo, served notice of an indefinite nationwide strike effective Monday to press home their demands for certain conditions of service.

To avert the planned strike, the National Labour Commission (NLC) called the two sides to a meeting yesterday to attempt to resolve their impasse.

At the meeting, the employers agreed to the first demand of the union by jointly signing and submitting a letter to NLC referring their deadlocked salary negotiation and pending items in the 2022 Collective Agreement negotiation to compulsory arbitration under section 164 of the Labour Act 2003, Act 651.

The letter was jointly signed by Israel Edem Agbegbor, General Secretary of TIP and Hardy Yazbek, Country Manager of Linfra Ghana for all the subcontractors, and Reliance (the employment agency).

The issues referred to arbitration include the determination of the principal employer and the role of the principal employer in the subcontract employment relationship; Provisions to re-negotiate to restore equilibrium in the Collective Agreement; Severance package; Proposed 45% salary increment for 2022; and Workload and Working Tools.

Sources at the meeting indicate that discussions are yet to be concluded on the remaining two demands of the union that relate to the “immediate payment of Golden handshake to all our members whose contracts have ended with Reliance,” and an “immediate recall of all targeted members of TIP whose contracts have not been renewed by these employers by mere association with the union.”

The executives say the membership would be informed of the outcome of the meeting for the union to decide on the next line of action.