An Accra High Court on Tuesday 16 March 2021 issued an interim injunction restraining members of the Telecom and IT Professionals Union, a workers union registered under the laws of Ghana and issued with a collective bargaining certificate, from embarking on an intended industrial action.
Their strike was originally scheduled to start Monday 15 March 2021.
Three institutions, MP Infrastructure (Ghana) Limited, Linfra Ghana Limited, and Reine Ghana Limited, whose staff are members of the union, instituted the action against the Telecom and IT Professionals Union, seeking an interim injunction against their notice to go on strike and four reliefs in the substantive case.
The court order
The presiding judge Frank Aboadwe Rockson, according to the interim injunction order, indicated that after reading the affidavit of Hady Yazbeck, the MD of the 2nd applicant (Linfra Ghana Limited) and after hearing counsel for the applicant, Sika Abla Addo, thought it wise to place ice on the intended strike.
“It is hereby ordered that the respondent and its members be restrained from embarking on or continuing with its industrial strike,” the order read.
“This injunction is for 10 days and upon its expiration, the applicants are to come back to court on notice,” the order added.
The reliefs being sought by the three companies are; a declaration that the industrial strike embarked upon by the defendants (Telecom and IT Professionals Union) on 15 March 2021 is illegal.
Secondly, a declaration that the defendant’s members who are employees of the Plaintiffs (MP Infrastructure (Ghana) Limited, Linfra Ghana Limited and Reine Ghana Limited), are engaged in the provision of essential services and are prohibited from embarking on industrial strike action.
Thirdly, an order compelling the defendant to call off the industrial strike action embarked upon.
Also, an interlocutor injunction restraining the defendant’s members who are employees of the plaintiffs from embarking on any industrial strike pending the final determination of the suit and lastly, a perpetual injunction restraining the defendant’s members who are employees of the plaintiffs from embarking on an industrial strike.
According to the statement of claim filed by the three companies, the National Labour Commission (NLC) “made an arbitral award and addressed all outstanding issues”. The NLC also said, “ordered the Plaintiffs to undertake a salary structure for the placement of staff”.
“The Plaintiffs say that in compliance with the NLC directives to undertake a job valuation and placement, the Plaintiffs engaged the services of the Chartered Institute of Human Resource Management Practitioners (“CIHRMP”) to under the job valuation and placement. The Plaintiffs say that after the ClHRMP finished its work, they gave a summary of the Job Evaluation to the Defendant who upon receipt of the report, notified the NLC of its intention to embark on an Industrial Action”.
The Statement of Claim further noted, “the Plaintiffs say that upon a Notice of Industrial Action to the NLC, the NLC directed the Plaintiffs to reconstitute the Job Evaluation Committee to enable the CIHRMP (the Consultant) explain the processes in the report to the Defendant”. “The Plaintiffs say that due to challenges beyond their control, both parties were unable to meet the deadline of one month directed by the NLC. The Plaintiffs say that both parties thereafter agreed to inform the NLC of their inability to meet the directed deadline and request for some more time to report back to the NLC”.
“Both parties were still in the process of agreeing on a suitable date for the reconstituted Job Evaluation Committee to meet the Consultant, only for the Defendant in a letter to the NLC on Friday, 12th March 2021, notified the NLC of embarking on industrial strike action on the 15h of March 2021. The NLC in a directive dated 15th March 2021 called on the Defendant to appear before the Commission on the 18h of March 2021 for a hearing of the issues in dispute and also to stay any intended strike action” the statement of claim indicated.
“The Defendant’s members who are employees of the Plaintiffs provide an essential service and are generally prohibited from embarking on strike action. Negotiations were ongoing and there was no deadlock to warrant an industrial strike action by Defendant. Defendant failed to give the NLC, and Plaintiff the mandated seven (7) days written notice of their intention to proceed on Strike. Unless restrained by this Honourable Court, the Defendant’s members will continue to embark on their strike to the detriment of the Plaintiff business whiles compromising the use of all the telecommunications network with far-reaching consequences on the entire nation” the three applicant companies noted in their statement of claim.