Railway Workers Flog Bosses
Railway Workers Flog Bosses Website
The impasse between the management and the workers of the Ghana Railway Company Limited (GRCL) has taken a bizarre twist with the reported kidnapping of two top officials of the company by some of the workers in Takoradi. The kidnappers took their captives to the company's compound in Sekondi and flogged them like schoolchildren. The officials, Mr Abaka Amoah, the Public Relations Officer (PRO), and Mr Paul Afful-Dadzie, the Deputy Financial Controller, had lacerations on their hands, backs and necks as a result of the flogging. They reported the incident to the police and were later taken to hospital for treatment. The workers sentenced the two officials to that treatment for the simple reason that the PRO had gone to defend management on radio stations in the metropolis and made comments that did not reflect the true situation on the ground, while the deputy financial controller was accused of working, instead of joining the workers' strike. After unleashing the unthinkable punishment on the two officials, the railway workers were said to have issued a threat to other top officials of the company, telling them to be ready for their turn anytime soon. The action of the rail workers comes at a time negotiations are ongoing between the National Labour Commission (NLC) and the leadership of the GRCL workers to resolve the impasse between the workers and the management over many months unpaid salaries and an upward adjustment of salaries. According to Messrs Afful-Dadzie and Amoah, they were picked up by 12 strong men in a pick-up to a place called "Bottom Tree" within the Railways Location in Sekondi. "I was in the house in the afternoon when I heard a knock on my door. I opened the door and some strong-looking men told me to follow them to the Railways Location in Sekondi. I asked them for the reason and the one who sent them but they asked me to hurry up and that their interim leaders, Joe Dadzie and David Amatakure, had sent them. For fear of being beaten and embarrassed before my neighbours, I followed them," Mr Afful-Dadzie told the Daily Graphic. He said on the way, they branched to the residence of the PRO and the kidnappers left him in the bucket of the pick-up with some of their colleagues to ensure that he did not escape. "In a few minutes, the group returned with the PRO and told us to sit in the bucket because we did not deserve to be in the second cabin of the pick-up," he said. "They took us to a place and we met their interim leader, who told us to go and face the workers who were waiting under a big tree, popularly called Bottom Tree. There, we provided answers to the questions they posed to us," he added. However" he said, the workers were not satisfied with the answers. "We were heckled and whipped by some workers who were standing behind us with whips. They said we were also workers of railways and so they did not understand why we should be going to the office and making comments instead of joining them in the strike," he added. Mr Afful-Dadzie said had it not been for the interim chairman who went to their rescue, they would have suffered more brutalities in the hands of the workers. "After the flogging, they put us back into the pick-up and took us back home," he said. Asked whether or not he could make out the perpetrators, Mr Afful-Dadzie said because they were many, it would be difficult to identify them, "but we know the driver, who claimed he was forced to come for us". Following the incident and the threat issued by the workers, the residences of some top officials of the GRCL had been placed under heavy security guard to avert another strike by the workers. When the Daily Graphic visited the offices of the company last Friday, the usual busy atmosphere was missing as the wagons were on the rails and the offices closed. Workers of the GRCL have been on strike for more than a month, demanding a 150 per cent upward adjustment in salaries, the payment of salary arrears and the removal of the management and the local union executive. When contacted, the Railways Police confirmed the story and said investigations were under way.