WAMCO workers in limbo as company shuts down

The fate of about 50 workers of a cocoa processing company, West Africa Mills Company (WAMCO), in Takoradi is in limbo as management suspends operations indefinitely.

In a letter dated December 22, 2017 and signed by the Deputy Managing Director of WAMCO Frank M. Bednar, the holdup is to allow management plan operations after a consultative meeting with shareholders on the second week of January this year.

It will be recalled that the skeletal staff of WAMCO were recalled in May 2017 to undertake rehabilitation works at the Liquor plant which is the WAMCO 1 plant site.

In September same year, the company procured 500 metric tonnes of cocoa beans to test run the same liquor plant.

The company through the assessment period was able to produce and ship a total of 150 tonnes of liquor from the beans they procured.

The company which is expected to commence full operations this year as widely spoken about by the government is now in limbo.

But speaking to the Chairman for the Professional and Managerial Staff Union of WAMCO, Mr. Stephen Nuanyah, he expressed worry over the development.

According to him, workers are anxious about the resumption of work and job security. Mr. Nuanyah stated it is the anticipation of workers that management and shareholders will address issues about their salaries and other emoluments in the pending meeting.

He argued the inability of management and shareholders to constitute a governing board has been a hindrance to salary negotiations.

“We cannot go into full operation when they are still paying workers on allowance basis. And we cannot be put on negotiated salary, when we don’t have the mandate to negotiate.”

“Currently, WAMCO does not have a governing board and without it we cannot negotiate on anything”, He added.

The majority shareholder, Hamester, who is a German investor is reported to have put forward representatives for the governing board but government is alleged to be hesitant in honouring his part.

The board was supposed to be constituted in November 1, 2017 but that did not happen, Mr. Nuayah indicated.

Below is the content of letter issued to staff by management

22nd December, 2017

LETTER OF APPRECIATION

I write to thank you for your support, patience and dedication during the rehabilitation works at WAMCO 1. Inputs from you were valuable and your willingness to take up challenge was admirable to me. We have through a period that was filled with challenges including lack transport to work and canteen services. How reassuring it has been to know that I can count on you regardless of what challenges we are confronted with.

Once again please allow me to extend my personal and genuine appreciation to you for your valuable contributions to a successful technical assessment and test-run of WAMCO 1 which was scheduled to end December 2017. We shall break for the Christmas holidays after close of work today, Friday 22nd December, 2017. However, the date for the resumption of production/other works is not clear yet. Management will first have discussions with the shareholders in the second week of January 2018 during which you will receive clear directives/instructions from the shareholders on the way forward. You would therefore be contacted after consultations are concluded.

Finally, I also wish to extend my best wishes and happiness to you and your family during this Christmas as we all look forward to a prosperous new year.

Kindly find enclosed an amount of GH150.00 to support your Christmas celebrations.

Happy Christmas!

Yours sincerely

Frank M. Bednar

Deputy Managing Director

Source: Citi Business News

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