PSC Tema Shipyard Ltd. has been a strategic asset for the country since it was built in 1969. Governments have made every effort to get it back to international operating standards by seeking for strategic investors since 2010 after it was fully taken over by the government from the Malaysians.
PSC Tema Shipyard has been deteriorating since GOG took over till date. And this is due to the undeniable fact that of needed capital injection to revamp the yard which should either come from the government or from investors. The company is not able to rock shoulders with our competitors within the West African sub-region, thereby, resulting it losing clientele base and, subsequently, substantial revenue annually.
CEOs in times past have played major roles strategically to sustain our clients and to continuously keep us in business till a strategic investor is found. Our current CEO, in the person of Dr. Alexander Yaw Adusei Jnr., who also doubles as the Director General of the yet to be constructed Keta Port, has been at the helms of affairs of PSC Tema recently.
The Shipyard had since November 2020, after the exit of Capt. K. B. Micah, was to see Dr. Alexander Yaw Adusei Jnr., a lawyer by profession from law practice law in Ohio in 2007 with 14 years of experience, at the wheels.
Before and after
Before Dr. Adusei assumed office, Capt. Micah was able to solicit an intervention which was given in the form of loan from the GOG during the crucial Covid-19 period in April 2020. This relief was to sustain the company for a year, while workers sweat to bring the company back to its feet. Per our corporate procedures, all new CEO’s appointed by the authorities (thus MOT & GPHA Board), shall have delegates from the appointing authorities come to officially introduced the CEO to the management and the entire employees. However, this was not done in the case of Dr. Alexander Adusei. He organized a durbar and introduced himself as the next CEO of PSC Tema Shipyard. Indeed, without any agitation, he was warmly welcomed.
He held his first durbar in November 2020, where he started to sound this note of caution of a possible shut down of the yard upon exhaustion of the loan received from GOG. He also made it clear to us that, due to the unavailability of funds by then, all overtime will be scrapped from January 2021 and the overtime will be replaced with a shift system policy system which he will be rolling out within the same period. God being so good and due to interventions by his predecessor Capt. Micah, vessels started calling at the dock. Despite promising fortunes, Dr. Adusei failed to tap in to the favourable climate to develop strategies to break through.
Our second durbar with him in the month of January 2021 was when he started re-echoing the closure of the company, threatening that if we do not work hard to keep our heads above waters, he would not be the one to blame. In his quest to completely do away with our overtime as he had announced, he decided to roll out a shift system in January, which the unions vehemently opposed to.
The unions’ main worry was the fact that we do not have the manpower in terms of numbers to run the shift system. This shift system was to run such that every employee works for 40 mandatory hours throughout the week and proceeds on 2 days off duty as per schedule. When this shift system started, the company was overwhelmed with projects at Dock 1 & 2 in the later part of January and the subsequent months. This led to employees, especially, at the operations department working beyond the stipulated required hours throughout the project life cycle, without the necessary commensurate remuneration.
Some employees are forced to stay and work beyond the mandatory hours, while others voluntarily stay to work beyond the required hours, resulting in suppressed productivity. This meant that the production department was made to work for 48 hours in a week for more than one month, without a commensurate pay. This shift system continued amidst its rejection from employees with CEO opposing and rejecting every suggestion to abolish it.
Cancellation of allowances
In the midst of this shift system brouhaha, the CEO cancelled all allowances employees enjoy when they work at confined and obscure areas on board ships and also for those who are placed on night shifts.
During the beginning of the year, employees understood that management had to take certain measures in the quest to sustain the company with the hope that all these allowances will be restored when we bounce back in business. Sadly, enough, the CEO have decided not to restore these cancelled allowances which serves as motivation for employees to work in dangerous, hazardous and confined areas.
The CEO worsened the plight of the workers in the month of April 2021 when he called for a meeting to inform union leaders that the last pay check for the loan received from GOG is in the month of April, after which there will be no monies to pay for salaries in the months ahead.
For this reason, he would be closing the yard after we had received our April salaries. In addition, all workers will be sent home subject to a recall that would be based upon on contract as and when our (workers) services are required. He also made it categorically clear that there is a reserve of $200,000.00, but this will not be used in paying salaries. Rather, would be used in paying staff who would be called to come to work on contract basis. We vehemently opposed this option.
This decision was to be implemented without recourse to the collective agreement (CA), a clear demonstration of the flouting of the relevant labour law. On May 12, 2021, a proposal was sent to the Secretary General of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) of Ghana for onward forwarding to the CEO after the Secretary General was brought in to help curtail the problems at the yard. This was done but in fairness, not even a single recommendation was implemented by the CEO after deliberations with the CEO by the Secretary General of TUC.
To add insults to injury, Dr. Adusei, in the month of May 2021, indefinitely suspended our medical health scheme with GPHA clinic and International Maritime Hospital (IMaH) without informing the management and the unions.
Some employees and their dependents visited our service providers only to be returned in embarrassment that medical services to Tema shipyard cannot be provided per the directive from the CEO. Others on admission were asked to pay before being allowed to leave the hospital. According to the CEO, our service providers claim that, due to the accumulation of debt, they (GPHA clinic & IMaH) can no longer grant medical service.
The suspension really affected the moral psyche and motivation of workers, hampering the progress of projects. This inhumane decision without proper consultations and due diligence sparked series of agitations that led to the security (police) advising him to stay off the yard till issues are resolved. For this reason, he was given an office at the former GPHA administration block that has now been labelled as the Keta Port Headquarters.
Dr. Alexander Adusei Jnr. has on countless number of times conducted some fruitless and unproductive departmental transfer of managers which has caused delays in projects and has distorted the general organization of the yard.
The most of it is the sheer disregard and disrespect for the workers where junior staff employees from GPHA are seconded to take up managerial positions. Mrs. Bernice Laako Natue was diligently managing the affairs of the HR & Administration department when she was transferred for no reason only for two junior officers from GPHA whom the CEO can manipulate were seconded. Sadly, the actions and inactions coupled with high level of inexperience by these two seconded staffs have worsened the woes and deepened the fracas between the CEO and employees.
Considering the critical nature of the HR department, they choose to operate from GPHA where documents are sent to them to be signed and they are always not available for highly sensitive and serious issues that demands their presence.
More so, Dr. Adusei who continuously profess that the company has dire cash flow constraints, in June decided to recruit a financial manager even though management and the union advised that the timing was not the best and also there are equally qualified staffs with the needed experience who could take up that position without any problem whatsoever.
But as firmly adamant and consistent as Dr. Adusei is, he never saw any sense in all the suggestions given and went ahead to recruit. The Director General of GPHA after a meeting with the Unions’ leadership, the Secretary General of TUC and the CEO agreed to have an Interim Management Committee to take- over the Yard in the absence of the CEO until the impasse between the CEO and the workers is resolved.
Within this three- month- period, several meetings have been held with some having the Sector Minister, the DG of GPHA and the SG of TUC in attendance. It is worth noting that all recommendations from these meetings have fell on deaf ears as the CEO continues to flout provisions enshrined in the Collective Agreement.
An example of some of these recommendations was for the CEO to present the management and the unions with the financial statements of the company which he blatantly refused to oblige with.
On July 2, 2021, a durbar was held at the behest of the DG of GPHA. The durbar came to an abrupt end just at the sight of the CEO who arrogantly sat in front of the workers with crossed legs. In attendance were top level management from GPHA, the DG of GPHA and the SG of TUC.
The durbar was to address the impasse between the CEO and the employees but the posture of the CEO was insulting not only to the employees but to the delegation to help mitigate the impasse too. An apology was after rendered to the DG and the SG by the leadership of the Union.
On the said day, the SG was clear when he said, “from all indications, Dr. Adusei has lost touch with the employees and will not be able to perform adequately in his position as the CEO”. The SG said he was going to brief the sector minister on the outcome of the durbar and recommend that a replacement should be sought out for him (CEO).
When workers rebelled in anger and decided not to sacrifice extra free hours for the projects, it took the intervention of the IMC members to convince operations staff to continue in sacrificing for the sake of the survival of the yard and to also prove to Dr. Adusei the CEO that workers are not lazy but then his policies are what is killing the company.
Amazingly, during the three- months of their takeover, the company has been able to make a significant sum of returns by completing sophisticated projects like MV Akpevweoghene, Hang Jun, etc. with just words of motivation to the employees which did this magic.
The CEO, who never wants anything good for yard and its employees, unhappy about how the IMC has been able to maintain calm and handled projects with series of recommendations from vessel owners which is the first time ever since Dr. Adusei took over, decided to effect one of the ridiculous transfers ever.
He moved Mr. Bless K. Kporvie being the head of the IMC to special duties, virtually making him redundant because that department never functions and has no portfolio (and has since been dismissed). He also transferred Mr. Samuel Owusu Appiah to marine section (demotion) and Abdulai Rashid transferred as the lead project coordinator (demotion) which position does not have any locus in the company’s organogram or structure.
All these transfers were effected away from the yard at his Keta Port Headquarters. He brought in Ing. Cdr. Kwabla Kpesese back to take over after he [the CEO] had previously transferred him from the same position to the Security Department for no tangible reason. Another clear indication of the CEO not knowing what he is about and still burnt on pursuing the plan of closing down the yard.
On August 27, 2021, having served a notice to the Head of Admin. & Resource to clarify issues on the shift system introduced again by the CEO to the general working populace of the company, a peaceful gathering of all workers present at work was held. He [Head of Admin. & Resource] failed to show up even though he agreed to come and explain the said issues that the entire workforce is not comfortable with and clearly flouts provisions enshrined in the collective agreement.
The agitations heightened prompting Eye on Ports and some media houses to cover the whole agitations. On September 3, 2021, queries were issued to over fifty plus employees. These employees were actually targeted employees by the CEO to victimize.
This is simply because even employees who were on sick excuse duty and leave were queried as well. It is imperative to know that all employees present at the time at work were present at that gathering but only targeted employees were queried.
This is a clear case of witchhunt and victimization. Subsequently, five of the queried employees were interdicted without recourse to their replies of their respective queries, which again infringes on the provisions of the collective agreement.
For more than six months, no committee was formed to look into the allegations levelled against them. After the leadership of the MDU complained about this unfair labour practice, the CEO conspicuously formed a committee after the sixth month to investigate and give a recommendation.
The committee is yet to produce their report on the interdicted employees. This month is the 10th month since their interdiction and nothing has been done. This is not right as their “crime” does not in the first place merit an interdiction.
On September 15, 2021, the National Union of Seamen, Port & Allied Workers (NUSPAW) of TUC Ghana after consultations with the SG of TUC wrote to the National Labour Commission (NLC) to help resolve the impasse. Consequent to the queries, the CEO with his Head of HR. and Admin came up with a Bond of Good behaviour which was supposed to be like an admission of guilt and to serve as a warning for future occurrences.
About four senior employees signed with one (Mr. Isaac Kluvia the Chairman of the SSU of NUSPAW) receiving a letter from the CEO indicating that had he not signed the bond, he would have been suspended for one month without pay.
This was circulated throughout the yard to cause fear and panic and to force others who have not signed to do so in order not to fall victim to this ploy by the CEO. No one else signed anyway. After they failed to get the needed number to sign on to this bond after over a week, they went on to postpone the date for the signing of the bond in a communique from the head of HR. and Admin. on October 6, 2021.
Again on October 7, 2021, the NUSPAW national leaders again wrote to the Head of HR. and Admin on the reason to withhold any further actions on the queries as the case is with the NLC.
Subsequently, the NLC told the parties involved to refrain from further actions in order not to act in contempt to the order by the NLC. The CEO and his head of HR. and Admin continued to issue queries prompting the NUSPAW national executives to again write to the NLC about the infractions from the CEO.
The CEO has shown that he has no regard for any form of authority and shall go at all length to do anything that suits his agenda. The CEO has been consistently bias towards anyone who he feels does not support his agenda. He unilaterally takes decisions without recourse to the dictates of the CA and he constantly says, “if anyone is aggrieved by my actions, he should take it to court”. Management members are now very much afraid of him and will carry out any orders from him without questioning the motive behind it.
On November 19, 2021, a query was issued to another ardent critique of his leadership style. Before he could even reply the query, the leadership had already gotten hint of the fact that he was going to be interdicted regardless of the content of his reply to the query. On December 15, 2021, he was issued an interdiction letter. This has been the constant trend of his administration.
Leadership of the Junior Staffs had a meeting with him on December 15, 2021 to find out how best those interdicted employees can be called back. The CEO made it clear to them that until all queried employees sign the ‘Bond of Good Behaviour’, he cannot have that kind of discussion with them. This has caused a lot of problems for the leadership of the unions to deal with. In one breath, the leadership wants the interdicted employees to return to work.
In another, they do not want to compromise on the dictates of the collective agreement (CA).
This has caused a lot of divisions among the employees. In effect, almost every employee served with the query signed the Bond of Good Behaviour (BoGB) to allow negotiations with the CEO with the exception of four employees who will not sign. Right after these employees signed the BoGB, the CEO has refused to listen to the leaders anymore.
He continues to make various transfers which in reality are counterproductive. We are currently running into the third month without a major vessel to work on. This will certainly have a dire consequence on our company’s finances.
The truth is that, the few vessels that come our way are treated with disdain and as such will turn all traffic to our competitors rather than bringing them here. Some of the clients have vehemently communicated to us that until we have a new CEO, they are sorry they cannot have any business relationship with us. This has really caused a drain on our finances and continues to create varied problems for the company.
In the month of December last year, the only certificate (ISO) that the yard prides itself with, telling our customers that even in our current state, they can be assured of quality services has been withdrawn by the certifying body. Another demonstration of the CEO’s gross incompetence and misunderstanding of the industry and the certification required.
Dr Alexander Adusei Junior is relentlessly focusing on infringing on the rights of employees, inflicting pain and hardship on them. This is the same person (CEO) who claims he thrives very well on the principles of fairness but completely acts the opposite or even worse than he claims.
The CEO selectively queried over 50 employees out of which six (6) were interdicted in the month of September 2021 for allegedly gathering and granting interview to the press respectively. Meanwhile, those on interdiction are paid half salaries, denied of all benefits (Employee Saving Scheme, annual bonus package) including access to health care (free to all employees and their dependents).
The recent incident of this unfair and ruthless “punishments” meted out on employees especially on interdiction is the case of Ewoenam Hlormenu, whose wife was detained after a caesarean section at Narh Bita Clinic to give birth.
The CEO refused to endorse their discharge due to the fact that Ewoenam Hlormenu is on interdiction and so his dependents should be refused health care services. This is the extent of vindictiveness that the CEO will go to punish anyone who critiques him. It is also on record that there is no agreement between management and the union that health care should not be extended to interdicted employees and their dependents.
It is also a fact that these interdicted employees are not the first and in all cases, none have ever been denied medical care. It took the intervention of the Secretary General of TUC to honor the payment of the hospital bills for their discharge (an amount of GHS8,500.00). This same employee got burnt whilst working without the appropriate PPE’s (because the company has not provided workers with PPEs for 3 years now) and has not been compensated till date. He is at the same time being accused of negligently causing this accident.
The current policies of the CEO are gradually killing the business of the yard. His most recent policy is charging clients full cost for jobs agreed on initial estimate but not actually done.
Some Internal Managers of the yard advised the CEO against the implementation of such unfairly backward policy but all fell on death ears. In 2022 alone, companies like World Carrier and China Harbor Engineering Company (CHEC), our loyal clients have vowed never to bring their vessels or patroniz+our services again.
The CEO has successfully destroyed our clientele base and brought the company to its knees. Currently, some employees have been asked to proceed on compulsory leave against their will and this has been very uncomfortable. The reason being that, there is no work and the company wants to save some money.
The CEO has now turned around to blame the employees who have largely sacrificed everything for this company with little or no reward to show for. Salaries have not been increased or reviewed for the past four years and this has created a lot of problems for the already burdened worker. The cost of living is now very expensive and at least a commensurate pay would have helped matters but that is one thing the CEO does not want to hear.
Two weeks ago, the CEO at around 4pm, called on the Leadership of the NUSPAW to attend an urgent meeting. The meeting was to start around 6 to 7pm. The senior leadership indicated to the CEO that it will be impossible for them to attend hence the meeting should be rescheduled to the following morning but the CEO refused and went ahead to hold the meeting with the junior staff leadership.
He indicated to them by word of mouth that the company has been sold by the Executive Arm of Government and that the NUSPAW National
Leadership should write through him to the Sector Minister indicating how the severance should be paid which contravenes the Labour Law. Majority of the workers are agitated by this pronouncement.
And this has really created some level of tension and instability among employees with the impression that all employees will lose their employment. Things of this nature cannot continue to happen in the way it is being handled by the CEO, especially when no vessel has called to even enquire for 5 months now.
PSC Tema Shipyard Limited is in dire need of a competent CEO with the nation at heart. The ship repair industry needs a seasoned and competent hand to help steer the day- to -day management of it. This is something PSC Tema Shipyard Limited lacks now.