A three member Arbitration Panel appointed by the National Labour Commission (NLC) under Labour Act 651 and Regulation 17 of L.I 1822, and the ADR Act 798 has ordered GCNet to pay its staff made redundant recently as stated in the provisions of the HR Policy Manual without any variation or adjustment.
Ruling in the matter of voluntary arbitration as requested by Staff Welfare Association of GCNet and Management of GCNet, the Arbitration Panel directed that there was no justifable basis for the attempt by Management of GCNet to vary or adjust the existing binding HR Policy Manual at the time of implementation and execution.
Referring copiously to the GCNet HR Policy Manual, the Labour Act and the Constitution, the NLC Appointed Panel noted that there was significant overwhelming material evidence to order GCNet / SGS to respect the spirit and letter of its HR Policy duly agreed and signed by parties and operational consequently.
The matters before the Arbitration Panel was to determine whether or not the GCNet HR Policy Manual is binding on parties and whether or not there was any basis for variation or adjustment of the redundancy as stated in the HR Policy Manual.
The Arbitration Panel insisted that the MoU signed by the parties was clearly in respect of implementation of the redundancy provisions in the HR Policy Manual relating to redundancy pay as the formula for the exercise and not a renegotiation. Therefore there was no basis for the attempt to vary or adjust the agreed formula duly signed and implemented before in past scenarios.
The Arbitration Panel pointed out that following a careful study and analysis of the documentation submitted by both parties, it was convinced that the HR Policy Manual was binding on all parties and therefore no need for renegotiation of redundancy pay in case of redundancy drawing attention to the notice letter issued to affected staff making reference to the predetermined redundancy pay in the HR Policy Manual.
The Arbitration Panel further disagreed with GCNet that it lacked capacity to pay because it did not make provisions for redundancy per International Accounting Standards 37 Provisions Contingent Liabilities and also due to uncertainty of date of payment by Government of Ghana.
It stressed that GCNet was entitled to claim compensation from Government of Ghana which will include redundancy payment made to all staff indicating a letter dated April 16, 2020 from Government requesting in paragraph 8 that ‘you are invited to submit claim if any, with justification, that you may be entitled to, following discontinuance of your service’.
It therefore upheld that there is an exisiting binding contract between GCNet and each of its employees through the HR Policy Manual together with their respective Employment Contracts which is binding on all parties and therefore should be applied in full.
The NLC Arbitration Panel therefore awarded that each employee declared redundant by GCNet be paid in accordance with Article 1901 (f) of the GCNet HR Policy Manual without any adjustment or variation and that the effective date for redundancy is August 31, 2020.
Checks indicate that despite the ruling issued on September 4, 2020, GCNet has not complied with the Arbitrarion Award, an absolute disregard for the rule of law and the rights of employees who have served with dedication and commitment.