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Some staff of the HR department told the GNA, on the basis of anonymity, that last Friday August 7, 2009, all staff members of the departments of Vodafone offices, at least across Accra, were invited to a supposed meeting with management, at which they were virtually compelled to take a test designed to determine who stays and who exits.
The staff of the department also told the GNA that they were made to swear not to disclose that they took a test.
Mr Emmanuel Dakwa, Local Union Chairman of Vodafone, confirmed to the GNA that he got wind of the meeting and its purpose but told unionised workers in the HR department not to take any test.
“I was told that the staff members of the HR department were being compelled to take some online assessment and they were given a deadline to complete and submit the test or count themselves automatically redundant,” he said.
He said he was yet to confirm how many of them actually took the test and what the actual purpose of the form was.
Other staff members outside of the HR Department also confirmed to the GNA that during the whole day of Friday, August 7, 2009, there was no one at the department to answer calls from other sections.
Efforts to reach Mr Isaac Abraham, Chief Manager, Corporate Communications of Vodafone Ghana, proved futile, as he would not pick calls nor reply to text messages and e-mails from the GNA.
The management of Vodafone Ghana last week unilaterally announced a compulsory redundancy plan, under which some 950 workers are targeted to leave the telecom giant by November 2009.
Already, 942 had gone on voluntary redundancy, which formed part of a comprehensive business transformation programme at Vodafone Ghana. The transformation programme may also see some non-core units of Vodafone Ghana completely scrapped.
Management stopped short of mentioning which departments were to be scrapped but said the restructuring was ultimately intended to make Vodafone productive and profitable in two years.
Due to the recent move on the HR department, members of staff are suspecting that management had targeted some workers of the section for mass retrenchment.
But the Ghana Trades Union Congress (GTUC), the Communications Workers Union (CWU) and the unionised workers of Vodafone had criticised the compulsory redundancy move as autocratic on the part of management and a violation of the labour laws of the country.
Management was accused of setting aside a mutual agreement between it and the leadership of the local union at a Standing Joint Negotiating Committee (SJNC), which enjoined management to have first submitted the redundancy programme to union for review before public announcement.
The CWU therefore called on management to suspend the redundancy programme and return to the key decisions of the SJNC or “we will advise ourselves.”
The latest move on the HR department seems to be an indication that management has no intentions of heeding the call of the CWU.
Meanwhile, the government, the minority shareholder with 30 per cent stake in Vodafone, has called for restraint and urged the stakeholders to understand that the redundancy programme was for the good of the company.