Tonnes of cocoa locked up as loaders embark on strike

Some of the trucks containing cargo of cocoa beans awaiting offloading. Photo credit: Daily Graphic

Articulated truckloads of dried cocoa beans meant for export have lined up at the Commodity Village and the Takoradi Port as a result of strike action by cocoa carriers, who are demanding better pay and improved working conditions of service.

At the various warehouses the Daily Graphic visited, there were more than 1,000 trucks fully loaded with the beans which were waiting to be offloaded into the empty warehouses for fumigation and preservation for onward export.

As a result of the strike, the trucks are not able to offload and move back to the countryside to cart more dried cocoa beans.

The situation, according to the drivers, is creating congestion at the producing areas.

Explaining why they were demanding increases in salaries, some of the carriers who pleaded anonymity said they were initially employed by Cocoa Marketing Company (CMC), but were later outsourced to private companies who had rather been paying them less.

The workers, therefore, said they would not work until their situation was improved.

When the Daily Graphic arrived at the Commodity Village at Apowa, there was a bold inscription of “No Work Today”.

When contacted, officials of the CMC said that aspect of the CMC’s job had been outsourced and it was the agents of the companies contracted that had to deal with the situation.

At the Tema Port, Rose Hayford Darko reports that the carriers have for the past week embarked on a sit-down strike in demand for better working conditions.

The carriers, who claimed that they loaded and offloaded about 400 bags of cocoa for a daily mark of GH¢13.00, considered the remuneration for the work done as inadequate to take care of their health needs.

When the Daily Graphic went to the warehousing areas of the CMC at  Tema Newtown and Community Three, there was no sign of loaders and the usual arrival of trucks from the hinterland was absent.

Some of the striking workers who the Daily Graphic spoke to explained that they were engaged by the CMC through  employment agencies  who had refused to accept responsibility for the payment of their fees.

They said they engaged the management  in negotiations  during which a date was fixed for response, but it had elapsed without any intervention.

Controversies surrounding who pays  the loaders has played a major role in the decision of the workers to  take the strike action.

The loaders observed that  recruiting them  through  agencies  was a way for the CMC to exploit them.

An official of CMC said the workers were not recognised by management of CMC, since they were  sourced through some agencies.

He was of the view that it was only the agencies which could hold brief for the workers and not CMC.

Meanwhile, the management of CMC has engaged the services of some other people who initially sewed torn sacks to manage and clear the backlog of what had arrived at the warehouses.

Source: Daily Graphic

1 Comment
  1. Al says

    You have to pair good wages. The workforce runs the show.

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