The workers, numbering about 100, wore red bands at the company’s site office and threatened not to work until their grievances were met.
The workers demanded to be put directly on the company’s payroll instead of being paid through the three outsourced recruitment companies, as, according to them, their employment was not facilitated by those companies.
Mr John Nartey, chairman of the workers union, told the Ghana News Agency that before starting work on the project, they attended interviews organised by Afcon and negotiated their basic salaries, adding that, “We are surprised that instead of putting us on their payroll as agreed, they have recruited third-party companies to handle us”.
Mr Nartey further said instead of paying them the agreed basic salaries, the outsourced companies – Quick Jobs Limited, Unique Job Solution and GCL Limited – claim the basic salary include their rent allowance and other benefits.
Mr William Quartey, assistant chairman of the workers union, indicated that it was heartbreaking to see some of their colleagues who got sick at work either being dumped on their families or sent to hospital without the company funding the medical bills.
Mr Quartey asked management to pay the workers bush allowance, overnight allowance, redundancy packages and clothing allowance, as well as provide free lunch, among others, before they would continue working on the project.
Mr Pramod Kumar, personnel and administration manager of Afcon, said the agitations from the workers could delay the construction of the 85-kilometre Tema-Akosombo railway.
Mr Kumar explained that the company wanted to fully complete and handover the project by 2020, adding that they were at the clearing stage.
He stated emphatically that Afcon never promised to put the workers on its payroll as it was against the company’s principles, indicating that workers were informed about the third-party companies before they were employed.
He explained that officials of his company conducted the interviews themselves to enable them employ workers with the requisite skills.
He gave the assurance that their activities would not offend the labour laws of Ghana.