STC buses

Workers of the beleaguered state-owned Intercity STC are dissatisfied with management?s inability to pay their salaries.

According to the workers, they have not been paid salaries for the past three months.

The protest started on Wednesday when the workers temporarily suspended their operations and disrupted activities at the STC yard in Accra.

Yesterday, the management of STC met the workers, most of whom have been wearing red arm bands since Monday, to explain their position to them.

Cyrus De Graft Johnson, Communications Manager told CITY & BUSINESS that negotiations between the company, SSNIT (which owns 80 per cent shares in STC and also a majority shareholder of Prudential Bank), the Transport Ministry and Prudential Bank are advanced.

The once-vibrant company currently owes banks, including Prudential Bank which is threatening to put it on auction and other suppliers, over GH?4 million.

?I can confidently assure the workers and the entire nation that we are making headway and the company would not be auctioned by Prudential Bank,? he said.

He said that at the meeting, the Managing Director (MD), Charles Thompson appealed to the workers to exercise restraint and assured them that they would receive one out of three months salary before the end of September.

He said the MD told them that the management was working tirelessly to get salaries for the remaining month released without delay.

Mr. De Graft Johnson also said that Intercity STC was waiting for a proposal it sent to the government for a bailout and this was articulated to the workers by the MD at the meeting.

He said although the management was not against the agitation by the workers, there was the need for corporation to resolve the issue amicably.

Intercity STC in July approached to the government to support them with about GH?7 million to remain solvent until December 2012 but the government has since not made any favourable response to the proposal.

Minister of Transportation, Collins Dauda told Joy FM in July that he was going to recommend to the government to stop running the transport company.

?One thing that must be very clear is that in making my recommendation to Cabinet, I?ll not recommend to government that it should continue to run STC. I?ll certainly not. I?ll ask for private sector participation in the management of STC because several companies run transport businesses in Ghana?and they are doing very well. So one wonders why that of government is not performing,? Mr Dauda said.
?Anything owned by government lacks supervision and in doing business, if your ability to supervise is not good enough you better don?t venture. If you find that the private sector is better placed to do it, get the private sector to do it for you.
?This ministry has a history. We used to have Ghana Airways, where is it? We used to have Black Star Line, where is it? STC is the next on line. Railways is gone. And you know the attitude of Ghanaians towards state-owned businesses.?

Currently, Intercity STC has a fleet of 47 buses on its normal routes but there is uncertainty about the fate of the 557 workers of the company.

The company pays GH?7,500 weekly to JA Plantpool, which recently supplied it with buses.

The company was forced to make weekly payment under the agreement because it failed to honour its purchasing agreement with JA Plantpool, which seized 10 of its buses following a court order.

 By William Yaw Owusu

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