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GT staff demonstrate

By James Harry Obeng & Grace N. A. Solomon

 

DECLARING that “we know it better than any other person,” workers of Ghana Telecom- both juniors and seniors – have embarked on a series of actions to ensure that the government goes ahead with the sale of its 70% shares to Vodafone.

 

“We have studied the full benefits of the Vodafone bid and we are optimistic that the future of GT, lies in the ratification of the agreement by the honourable Members of Parliament and we wish to call on them to go ahead with the process,” the workers, styling themselves as the Concerned Workers of the Ghana Telecommunications Company (GT), declared on Tuesday.

 

As a first step, the workers have served the Speaker of Parliament and all the other 230 Members of Parliament (MPs) with petitions about their stand on the issue and hoped that they (MP’s) seal the privatization process.

 

The latest action of the workers, following earlier ones concurrently staged in Kumasi, Takoradi, Sunyani and Wa on Monday, was a massive demonstration at the GT headquarters premise in Accra, on Tuesday.

 

Clad in blue T-shirts of the company, with some wearing read head-bands,  the staff held placards, some of which read “Save GT Now for posterity”, “If the sales is not allowed to materialize, competition will kill GT” and “We want Vodafone”, all in support of the 70-30 Vodafone deal.

 

And this was also not without public participation as a cross-section of the public flocked into the premises of the company to lend their support, and most glaringly dance to the tunes offered by a brass band, bringing traffic in front of the headquarters premises to a momentary standstill.

 

But the euphoria was nearly truncated when, in the heat of the demonstration and dancing, a member of the public stepped in to protest against the sale.  It therefore took the assistance of some top-notch executives of the company who staged a swift intervention to save the man from the wrath of the jubilating demonstrators.

 

In an interview with ‘The Spectator’ about the reasons underlying the protest, the Chief Manager of OneTouch, Mr. William Agyei, said the demonstration was to show solidarity and support towards the privatisation of the company, saying “this is to ensure the survival and resuscitation of the GT for generations unborn since the company is now worth nothing.”

 

He underscored that there have been continued misrepresentations and misconceptions about the sale by certain elements of the public “who know next to nothing on the issues, but are arguing to their own advantage and are seeking their own parochial interest.”

 

For his part, the Marketing Research Manager of GT, Mr Paul Manu, indicated that as a result of the company’s status quo, it was losing revenue from international calls (IDD).  This, he explained, was as a consequence of GT not belonging to any international grouping “to steer international traffic towards its network.”

 

He indicated that the workers were in support of the Vodafone deal because “Vodafone already has that international clout to turn the fortunes of GT around for the better, making it the only brand that is listed by Interplants (an international company that values international companies) in its first 50 companies in the world,” he noted.

 

Mr. Manu added that the inability of GT to steer international traffic towards it network was negatively impacting on its performance, especially in terms of competition.

 

“Even bank’s like Ecobank and companies like Nestle have threatened to quit transacting business with us if we don’t get on board IDD calls,” he explained.

 

 

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September 19, 2008 - Posted by | News

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