THE HALL OF TRADE UNIONS, OUR INHERITANCE – ICU-GHANA
Gentlemen and Ladies of the Press,
This press conference has been called to brief you and the society at large, about ICU’s stance on the renovation of the Hall of Trade Unions, and why ICU has not vacated its offices whilst renovations are ongoing.
As we believe, most of you present here might know that the Hall of Trade Unions was donated by the late Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of the Republic of Ghana to the workers of Ghana in the early 1960’s in appreciation of workers contribution towards the fight for independence.
The Hall of Trade Unions is thus a monument not only to the memory of the late Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah but workers both dead and alive, and also serves as a rallying ground for all workers of Ghana. Indeed when this building was bequeathed to the National Unions, ICU was mentioned in the ordinance that was gazette.
This Hall has, since the 1960s, been owned and occupied by a number of National Unions or Workers’ organisations in Ghana including the ICU-Ghana.
However, in 2011, the Trades Union Congress (Ghana) filed a writ at an Accra High Court, seeking to eject the ICU – the single largest heterogeneous trade union organization in Ghana with a membership of over 100,000 – from the Hall of Trade Unions, ostensibly for ICU disaffiliating from the Trades Union Congress (Ghana) in 2005, when the TUC(Ghana) refused to correct its infraction when it breached its own constitution that almost disintegrated the ICU-Ghana.
The attempt by TUC (Ghana) to eject the ICU-Ghana from the Hall of Trade Unions in 2011 did not succeed as the case got stalled in court.
Subsequently, the TUC (Ghana) in a letter dated 2nd November, 2015 wrote to its lawyers and copied to ICU-Ghana, asking them to discontinue the ejection case filed against the ICU-Ghana in court ostensibly to pave the way for reconciliation talks to get ICU-Ghana to reaffiliate to the TUC(Ghana). The reconciliation talks have also stalled till now.
Now, on 26th April, 2018 the TUC (Ghana) wrote to ICU-Ghana notifying it of a supposed renovation of the Hall of Trade Unions, and that the ICU-Ghana and the other National Unions should vacate their offices in the Hall of Trade Unions by August, 2018.
Meanwhile, the TUC(Ghana) had shared the cost of the so-called renovation of the Hall of Trade Unions to all the National Unions occupying the Hall of Trade Unions, without giving any to ICU-Ghana as part-owner of the Hall.
This quickly made the ICU-Ghana see through the covert and diabolic intention of the Trades Union Congress (Ghana). To wit, to ostracize the ICU-Ghana from the comity of Trade Union fraternity at the Hall of Trade Unions, and to deprive ICU-Ghana of its inalienable right of part-ownership of the Hall of Trade Unions as the Hall is an inheritance bequeathed to all workers of Ghana by the first president of the Republic of Ghana and which has been the habitation of all National Unions, including ICU-Ghana, since the 1960s.
Having discerned the ulterior motive of the TUC (Ghana), the ICU-Ghana then became more than ever determined, not to move an inch from the Hall of Trade unions to allow TUC(Ghana) to execute its anti-worker plan against the largest segment of Ghanaian workers who are members of the ICU-Ghana.
The TUC(Ghana), wrote to ICU-Ghana again in November, 2018 giving it up to 28th February, 2019 to vacate its offices in the Hall of Trade Unions to pave the way for resumption of renovations of the Hall. This, ICU through its lawyer, responded in writing to the TUC Ghana and reaffirmed the union’s resolve not to vacate the Hall under the orders of the TUC (Ghana).
At this point it will be relevant to state that, many big office edifices in Accra and elsewhere, have been renovated without the occupants necessarily vacating the buildings; the occupants continue to stay in and do their work whilst the renovation went on.
Examples of such office edifices are the Head Quarters of Ghana Water Company, Ghana Cocoa Board, and currently the two Buildings of GNAT where renovations are ongoing.
So, the ICU-Ghana does not see what is different with the Hall of Trade Unions, if not for the TUC(Ghana) to carry out its diabolic plan of disinheriting ICU-Ghana of its part of the Hall of Trade Unions.
Moreover, the ICU-Ghana renovated its offices within the Hall of Trade Unions just about five years ago, and so does not need another renovation.
Our cherished and gallant members, we know you have become agitated by this development which indication points to your determination and resolve to protect the rights of the Union and its heritage.
ICU-Ghana wants to use this forum and the medium of the press to reassure all its teeming members, other National Unions and all well-meaning Ghanaians that the current Leadership of ICU-Ghana will jealously and zealously protect and sustain, as has been done by its predecessors, our part ownership of the Hall of Trade Unions.
On this note, we request the TUC(Ghana) to instruct its contractors carrying out the renovation to give ICU-Ghana, its staff, members, social partners and visitors alike, peaceful and unimpeded access to its offices whilst the renovation is going on.
Also, the TUC(Ghana) should instruct its contractor doing the renovation not to tamper with any utility (electricity, water etc.) supply to the offices of the ICU-Ghana within the Hall.
We want to assure the Government and all peace-loving Ghanaians of our commitment as a law abiding National Union to remain focused on our core mandate of articulating the aspirations of Ghanaian workers, but we shall not allow any irresponsible person(s) to deny us what is legitimately ours.
We thank all of you for coming and shall not hesitate to call for your solidarity again when the need arises.
God Bless Us All.
Long Live ICU-Ghana
Long Live the Trade Union Movement
Long Live Ghana
Dated: Monday, 4th March, 2019