An Accra High Court on Tuesday dismissed an application for interlocutory injunction by 1,001 workers of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), challenging moves to hand over the operations of the Company to a concessionaire without any redundancy package for them.
The workers were in court praying that the intention by the defendants to send ECG workers, including the plaintiffs on permanent transfer constitutes redundancy.
The court presided over by Justice Lorinda Owusu dismissed the application saying it does not see why the court should restrict the respondents from continuing with the compact deal which has already begun.
She said the compact is in force, contracts have been done, conferences have been organised, which the applicants have not denied, and time, money and energy have been wasted, saying if the application is granted severe hardship would befall the respondents.
Justice Owusu said the court is guided by three principles including whether there is a serious issue for trial, the need for protection of the applicants and the balance of convenience.
She noted that the purpose of the application is not to go into the merits of their case, but to consider the strength and weaknesses of the application.
“Interlocutory injunctions are made to last until the final determination of the substantive case, and it may be granted if the court sees the need to,” she said.
The court is of the view that, there was no serious issue to be tried, the dismissal of the application would not incur any harm and also considering the balance of convenience, greater hardship would befall the respondents if the application is granted.
Based on these the presiding Judge refused the application and dismissed same,the presiding judge assured all parties that the court would ensure that the case is dealt with expeditiously, and encouraged them to continue with discussions to reach an amicable conclusion on their concerns.
At the last sitting, files indicates that Counsel for the ECG Workers, moved an application seeking the court to restrain the respondents to take over the operations of ECG.
His application was however opposed by the counsels for first respondent, ECG, the second respondent, Government of Ghana and the third respondent MiDA, after which the court set today (Tuesday October 31) for the ruling on the application.
The workers were asking for a declaration that the decision by the Minister of Energy to conduct redundancy negotiations with individual employees of ECG, including the plaintiffs, is illegal and constitutes a gross violation of Section 65 of the Labour Act.
The plaintiffs were praying for an order directed at the defendants to comply with the provisions of the Labour Act, go through the proper redundancy process as laid down in Ghana’s laws and pay the plaintiffs redundancy pay (severance package) in accordance with the stipulation in the law and the collective agreement between the workers and the ECG.
They were also seeking a perpetual injunction to restrain the defendants, their assigns and privies from continuing with the Compact Agreement between the Government of Ghana and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) on August 5, 2014, for the reform of the electricity distribution sector of Ghana by, among other issues, appointing a concessionaire to take over the distribution of electricity from the ECG and related agreements.
Further declaration that the failure of the ECG and the Attorney-General to declare a redundancy in the ECG, pursuant to their plans to hand over the business of the ECG to a concessionaire, constitutes a breach of the contract of employment between the plaintiffs and the ECG.