A document sighted by DAYBREAK has revealed turmoil on the corridors of the nation’s major revenue collection organization, which if not checked, will result in demotivation of staff and loss of substantial revenue necessary for national development.
A memo fired from the Union of staff of the Ghana Revenue Authority dated April 14, 2020, and signed by George Awinbilla, Chairman, GRA, PSWU; Maxwell Osei-Gyamerah, Chairman, GRAWU; Ken Tweneboah-Koduah, National Secretary, GRA, PSWU and Patrick Amehoe, Executive Secretary, GRAWU and addressed to the Commissioner-General, GRA and copied to all GRA Commissioners, National Security Minister and Labour Commission accuse Board Chair of GRA, Professor Stephen Adei of bad faith in his dealing with workers.
Despite a negotiated matter on payment of bonuses within the GRA setup, coupled with the fact that the GRA performed creditably by the GRA’s records, Board Chair Stephen Adei, is breaking existing rules of engagement by attempting to deny workers their due even at a period costs of living has become intolerable worldwide.
According to workers, there is evidence that the GRA met its annual target for 2019. However, just when workers were bracing themselves for the payment of bonuses, the Board Chair, out of the blue, decided to break the protocols with a 10% payment, instead of the 15% on paper.
The workers insist that “bonus is “negotiated item” under article 39 of the CBA and its payment requires negotiations and consensus: and not the sole discretion of Management /Board.
It is in that regard that they, by the memo, propose upholding “the CBA’s position on the 15% payment as Bonus. In view of the sensitivity and hard times (“COVID -19”) we find ourselves, we are prepared to accept its payment in two tranches as follows: “paying 10% before 17 April 2020 and paying the remaining 5% by October 2020”.
Expressing frustration with the Board Chair’s style of governance, the Union writes:
“ Sir, it is also worth mentioning that dictatorship, intimidation, insults, and culture of fear or silence have never been part of the GRA corporate culture. Regrettably, these appear to be the trend ever since the assumption of office of the current Board Chairman. This trend is unacceptable to Staff and if not urgently checked, could undermine the dignity and respect that beholds the Board. GRA is made up of dignified, qualified and seasoned professionals and same dignity and respect must be accorded us.”
They stated that the Board Chair, who seems to double as the Commissioner-General must abide by the CBA by approving the payment of 15% bonus to staff since the Union “cannot guarantee the sustenance of Industrial harmony within the Authority henceforth.”
Below is a copy of the memo.
TO: COMMISSIONER GENERAL
FROM: ORGANISED LABOUR
DATE: 14TH APRIL, 2020
SUBJECT: RE: 2019 ANNUAL STAFF BONUS PAYMENT
Organised Labour writes to acknowledge receipt of your Memo dated 9th April 2020 on the above mentioned subject.
After a careful study of the contents of the memo, Organised Labour wishes to respond as follows:
- That Bonus is “negotiated item” under article 39 of the CBA and its payment requires negotiations and consensus: and not the sole discretion of Management /Board.
The Board of Directors has no mandate to dictate and impose 10% bonus payment on staff, nor has the powers to bring “finality” to its payment. Please refer to the CBA and also Section 97(1) of the Labour Act, 2003 (ACT 651)
- Consequently, Organised Labour cannot sit unconcerned whilst the Board violates the CBA. Neither can we renege on our obligation in upholding the integrity of the CBA. In this regard, we reject unconditionally, the 10% bonus suggested in your Memo.
- We reiterate and uphold the CBA’s position on the 15% payment as Bonus. In view of the sensitivity and hard times (“COVID -19”) we find ourselves, we are prepared to accept its payment in two tranches as follows:
- Paying 10% before 17 April , 2020
- Paying the remaining 5% by October 2020
Sir, it is also worth mentioning that dictatorship, intimidation, insults and culture of fear or silence have never been part of the GRA corporate culture. Regrettably, these appear to be the trend ever since the assumption of office of the current Board Chairman. This trend is unacceptable to Staff and if not urgently checked, could undermine the dignity and respect that beholds the Board. GRA is made up of dignified, qualified and seasoned professionals and same dignity and respect must be accorded us.
- Regrettably, Organised Labour could neither comprehend nor accept the arguments outlined on the achievements of the 2019 target in your memo.
How can the Board Chairman and with your support, tell the world that GRA has met its 2019 annual target, supported this claim with empirical figures and facts, received all the commendations thereafter, had a Thanksgiving service to honour GOD both in Accra and Kumasi and only for a few months later (because of 15% bonus payment to staff) suggest to mean otherwise?
Can GRA go back to the media and tell the whole world that it lied on the issue of achieving the 2019 annual target?
Sir, let us not betray the trust, goodwill, respect and above all the integrity and reputation of the Authority because of bonus payment to staff. GRA has over the past decade demonstrated and maintained an enviable positive image and that we must protect, enhance and guard zealously, regardless.
Meanwhile it is no secret that 15% bonus provision was made in the 2019 approved budget and so this should not bring any contention to its payments.
Ironically, whilst His Excellency, The President is putting in measures to mitigate the financial and psychological hardship that has befallen workers and the citizenry due to COVID-19, our Board has chosen to withhold from GRA staff what is rightfully due us.
Our Board Chairman who seems to double as the Commissioner General must abide by the CBA by approving the payment of 15% bonus to staff else, we cannot guarantee the sustenance of Indutrial harmony within the Authority henceforth.
Until then and by National Executive Councils decision of Organised Labour and with reference to our earlier Memo dated 24th March 2020 i.e. (“Staff Concerns”) all staff, Departments, Collections and Offices are being directed to put red bands effective 15th April 15, 2020.
The CBA is all we have and it must be respected by all parties.
FOR AND ON BEHALF OF GRA PSWU OF TUC (GH) & GHANA REVENUE AUTHORITY WORKERS UNION