The National Labour Commission will on January 13, 2021 ruled over the matter in which 30 workers of Cocoa Cola Company Limited have been wrongfully dismissed.  

The ruling will indicate whether management of the beverage producing firm erred in sacking the employees without a final conclusion of the matter.

Already, the mother union (Industrial and Commercial Workers Union) of the workers believes management erred because the matter that will bring finality to the redundancy had not been concluded.

“The issue is that from the beginning of 2020, management [Coca Cola] said they wanted to lay off 90 workers. But thankfully, the law requires that if you show the numbers you must show reasons” Solomon Kotei, General Secretary of ICU told Joy Business.

“Fortunately getting to October 2020, they came back to say that they have reduced it to 30. This we [ICU] obliged because redundancy is the right of the employer under the law”, he noted.

However, Mr. Kotei emphasized that “now we’ve gone through due process, we are just about concluding, but minutes of various meetings that fall under this subject have not been previewed and signed and then MOU [Memorandum of Understanding] which will put the seal on the entire redundancy have also not been signed”.

He was therefore surprised that management have gone ahead to issue termination letters on 31st December 2020, stressing, it is strange.

“But on 31st of December, management went ahead to issue termination letters and strangely for the first time in the history of termination letter, an employer writes to tell an employee that I know I have concluded discussion on the subject and I have also signed an MOU but termination is taking effect.

Workers agitation

The workers today protested at the premises of the firm following the alleged sacking of 30 of their colleagues, saying management did not follow due process.

Mr. Kotei said there had been some disturbances last week where the ICU reported to the Labour Commission that the management of Coca Cola has done a locked out which they have not followed due process.

“The workers then report to work this morning and they were refused entry, and their other colleagues also joined them to say that if they will not allow their colleagues– the 30 people—entry, then we too we will not enter”, he pointed out.

“In the process of this, the national union [ICU] was notified and then we rushed to the place. Fortunately in the presence of the police we were able to get back to management, and both parties have agreed that we should all restrain ourselves until 13th January, 2021 where we go to the labour commission for further adjudication on the matter”, he explained further.

Genesis of workers layoff

In August 2020, management of Coca Cola indicated in a statement signed by the Business Unit Managing Director in charge of West Africa, Felix Gomis that the coronavirus pandemic had impacted negatively on its operations, and as such has plans of laying off some workers.

The statement further said the redundancy was necessary to make the company survive from impact of the covid-19 pandemic.