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Ghana: IndustriALL members locked out at Crown Holdings

11 February, 2015IndustriALL Global Union affiliate, the Industrial & Commercial Workers' Union (ICU) protest against the lock out at Crown Holdings in Ghana.

On 27 January, workers at Crown Cans Ghana Limited, specializing in the manufacturing of metal packaging for the food industry, staged a protest in front of the company gate. Management had without any preliminary notice closed the gate. The only information given was a piece of paper left at the gate saying “factory shut until further notice” and undersigned in smaller letters “management”.

For three years the ICU has encountered a number of difficulties in organizing the factory and tough resistance from management. When the union finally succeeded to organize workers, the company management in retaliation dismissed all the initial union executives.

Later, Crown Cans refused to negotiate with the ICU and announced the closure of the factory. The union submitted the case to the National Labour Commission (NLC) and as a result Crown Cans was instructed to negotiate with ICU representatives.

Eventually Management informed the union that they were ready to start negotiating but only after removing their machinery and equipment from the factory. Obviously based on previous negative experiences the ICU rejected the proposal from the company.

The NLC requested that the two parties select mediators/arbitrators to enable negotiations. The ICU complied with this proposal, but Crown Cans management refused and instead decided to bring cranes into the factory to remove the machinery and equipment.

In response to the workers resistance, Crown management requested protection from the local police from the workers. The company’s demand was rejected and instead the police advised that the company follow the due process.

In view of current situation the NLC has requested an emergency meeting between Crown Cans management and the ICU aiming to resolve the dispute.

In his letter to Crown Holdings’ CEO, Jyrki Raina, IndustriALL General Secretary exposed the facts about the workers’ rights violations at the factory in Ghana and urged the company to reopen the factory, and to start negotiations with ICU representatives in good faith.