70-Year-Old Grandpas, Grandmas Hijack VALCO
Some irate staff of the Volta Aluminum Company Limited, otherwise called‘VALCO,’ are protesting the continuous stay in office by some top management officers who have attained retirement age, but refusing to go home and rest.
According to the workers, there are some top officials,agedbetween 65 and 70years, as well as octogenarians,who are still at the helm of affairs, occupying their positionsand living good at the expense of the poor worker.
Thealleged over-aged managers, numbering about 28, including the Chief Executive Officer (CEO),are said to be occupyingvarious positions at administration andinside the plant section, thereby overstretching the finances of the company.
The non-management staff, who were clad in red and embarked on a protest yesterday, October 31, said they will continue the protest until all those who have attained the retirement age are kicked out to pave the way for others, including the young ones.
Speaking to the media, Edgar Tetteh,the local chairman of the VALCO Workers Union, said “The issue here is this, the retirees have overstayed, they should leave for the young ones to also occupy those positions. In this same vein, they should leave for our brothers who are outside, not having employment, to come in and work.”
“I mean, 67years, 68, 69 and in some cases 70 years. We were even having octogenarians here. It doesn’t augur well for the company,” he stated on Joy FM’s Midday News, monitored by The Anchor.
The aggrieved workers say, despite operating locally, most operations of the company are carried out outside the country in dollars and most managerial roles are occupied by retirees who do not have the interest of the company at heart and thereby overstretching the finances of the company.
This, the workers say, is making their living conditions difficult, coupled with the current economic challenge that has bedeviled the country.
“Moreso, we think they are overstretching the finances of the company. In all, they are about 28 [retiree top officials]. There is no smelter in this world that they pay anybody less than $10,000 dollars. But here we are, we take as low as 1,000.”
“Somebody that you just picked from the university – all of us here, they picked us from the street, that does not mean we’ve not been to school. They did not come to the school to pick us.
“But if they come to your school and pick you, they give you GH₵115 a month, that is one part of your allowance. How much is the utility man’s base pay, just do the calculation, just do the calculation,” he said.
“The poor workers’ salary you turn a blind eye to it. When he comes to ask of his money, you say the plant will shut down you don’t have money but when it comes to your fuel, which is one item on your allowance, for that one you can pay; car maintenance allowance and all that,” he bemoaned.
He called on the owners to address the situation and ensure a remedy is found.
“Our agitation this morning is, the retirees who are managing this plant, we think they’ve gotten to their peak and they’re dropping, so we want the owners of this plant to know and then to do the right thing for all of us to maintain this plant the way Ghana wants it to be.
“VALCO workers are not destructive they’re hardworking, they work 12 hours a day,” the local union chairman stated, as they demand all retirees occupying various managerial positions to step down.