Hostage MCE, management & CEO of Ayum Timbers rescued

file photoA team of Police from the Brong Ahafo Region has rescued the Municipal Chief Executive of Asunafo North and management members of the Ayum Timber Company who were held hostage for over six hours Tuesday.

About 500 workers of the timber firm held their management, the Chief Executive of the firm and the MCE, Alhaji Mohammed Kwaku Doku who were having a meeting hostage over a six-month unpaid salaries.

The workers surrounded the club house of the company at Mim at about 5:00pm Tuesday, and vowed not to allow the CEO, Naja David, the management members [about 16 of them] and the MCE out of the compound, TV3’s Larry Paa Kwesi Moses reported.

Although the Police from the Goaso Divisional Police Command were called in, reinforcement was sought from the regional capital, Sunyani, to help in the rescue mission.

It was until 10:30pm Tuesday that the reinforcement arrived at the scene, Paa Kwesi Moses reported, adding that “the police formed an escape route behind the club house and around 11:25pm, they managed to rescue the hostages at the blind side of the workers”.

But the workers told TV3 they will continue to agitate until the company settles their outstanding salaries and SSNIT contribution.

The workers are claiming the management of the company has failed to pay their salaries for the past six months, noting all attempts at getting their outstanding salaries paid have not yielded positive results hence their latest action.

Paa Kwesi Moses reported that the workers were last week offered GHC100  each with an assurance from  the management that they were arranging for a bank to come to the company to pay them three out of the six months arrears.

However, the workers say that promise is yet to materialized

About 2,500 workers of the timber firm, which is rated one of the biggest in the industry in Ghana, are affected by the unpaid salaries. Notwithstanding the non-payment, the workers have been working to ensure the smooth running of the company.

They are alleging that although their pay advice slips show a deduction of SSNIT, the company has for the past seven years not been paying the contribution to the fund managers.

According to them, the company’s health facility which they hitherto turned to for healthcare services is now virtually non functional due to unavailability of drugs, thus forcing workers to seek such services from other facilities at their own cost.

By Stephen Kwabena Effah||Ghana

Twitter @steviekgh

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