GIHOC Workers Sue MD, Company

 …Over Unlawful Dismissal

Some aggrieved workers of the GIHOC Distilleries Company Limited have hauled the company and its managing director(MD), Maxwell Kofi Jumah, before court, for what they describe as the unlawful termination of their contract.

The MD is in the High Court, Human Rights Division to answer why some 21 staff (Applicants) of the company have been asked to proceed on leave without just cause.

The workers contend that the action by the company, in this case Mr. Jumah, was against the 1992 Constitution and the Labour Act.

Excerpts of a motion, sighted by The Anchor, read, “TAKE NOTICE that Counsel for the Applicants herein will this Honourable Court on an application for an order to enforce the fundamental human rights of the Applicants quarantined under Article 21 of the 1992 Constitution on grounds that the various letters issued by the Managing Director of the Respondent to the Applicants constitutes constructive dismissals from employment of the respondent and a punishment of the Applicants for daring to exercise their fundamental human rights to the freedom of expression and the right to form or join a Trade Union of their choice by responding to a call by the local Trade Union to demonstrate against the management of the Respondent over the non-payment if their salaries, social security and other statutory benefits as stated in the accompanying affidavit in support.”

The friction between the MD and the staff, The Anchor gathered, has been on for some time, but this year’s own was triggered, after a meeting attended by the staff on Tuesday, May 16, 2023 chaired by the regional officer of Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union (ICU).

In the said meeting, the workers had discussed the return of their MD, who had gone on sick leave and was not expected to return to his post.

According to the workers, under the leadership of Mr. Jumah, a former Member of Parliament (MP) for Kwadaso in the Ashanti Region, the workers witnessed mostly delays in salary payments, non-payment of social security and other statutory benefits as mentioned in the court documents, which they are unhappy about.

It was the expectation of the workers that, the MD would not come back, and the Interim Management Committee (IMC), which was set up by the Board to see to the day-to-day running of the company, would see to their needs and address them.

They had petitioned the committee to, among others, address issues of their long-standing Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), which was yet to be looked into before Mr. Jumah’s unexpected return.

Failed Assurance

The MD’s return was therefore not anticipated, especially when a deputy minister of Trade and Industry, Michael Okeyre Baafi, in a meeting, had told them Mr. Jumah was a goner.

“Meanwhile, the Dept. Minister of Trade (Hon Baafi) has promised the workers at a staff meeting that the Managing Director is never going to return from his sick leave and that his leave has been extended by him and the Board (there is video to that effect),” the workers said.

The gathering of staff was expected to follow with a demonstration, but they were discouraged by the regional ICU officer, who assured they were going to take the matter up.


So, on Tuesday May 16, 2023 the workers had a meeting which was addressed by the Regional ICU officer after which the workers were asked to calm down and not do any demonstration.

While at the meeting, some police officers, numbering 15, were allegedly called in to ensure absolute peace in and around the company and to stop the expected demonstration.

While this went on, the workers, in a statement sighted by this paper, said Mr. Jumah stormed the yard of the company, specifically to the technical office, where the workers were having a conversation.

The workers denied holding the intended protest, though the media was there to seek interview which they granted.

“Note while in the meeting there were over fifteen police men in and outside the yard to stop workers from expressing their displeasure over the MD return. Around about 11am on that Tuesday after the meeting the MD walked into the company yard and went to the technical office where the workers were having a conversation to sack the PMSU chairman and some members out of the company because they were in red hand bands and others not an in red band, upon getting outside the media was there to speak to them. But there was no demonstration because of the heavy armed police presence and also the regional officer of the ICU has also asked us to calm down and they were going to take the matter up,” they stated.

But this appeared to have infuriated the MD, and so a week after that, management set up a committee to enquire from the staff what really happened on the day they held the meeting. Unfortunately for the staff, the 21 that were involved in the meeting were asked to proceed on leave, warranting the suit.

“Now most of the staff who were at the committee hearing have been asked to go on their annual leave which we find it unlawful so we would like you to help us take legal action against the Managing Director of GIHOC (Hon, Maxwell Kofi Jumah),” the statement from the workers to their lawyers said.


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