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TOR junior staff appeal for constructive solutions to revive refinery

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The junior staff wing of UNICOF at the Tema Refinery is concerned about negative media coverage affecting TOR.

They are urging CSOs, investors, and intellectuals with constructive proposals to contact the Board.

TOR has faced operational challenges since 2009, and the recent opposition by GTPCWU TOR local branch is seen as obstructive.

The junior staff wing, now part of UNICOF, supports the Board’s efforts to revive TOR, emphasizing its viability with the right investment.

Read full statement:

We the junior staff wing of the Union of Industry, Commerce and Finance Workers (UNICOF) of the Trades Union Congress at the Tema Refinery are worried about frequent bad press in the media about our dear Refinery.

We want to appeal to CSOs, the investor community and intellectuals who have good proposals and ideas on how to revive TOR to simply contact the Board and Management.

TOR urgently needs bold and practical solutions and not what appear to be self-seeking, populist misinformed and theoretical talk in the media anytime issues about the company pop up.

In the midst of all these, the national asset is deteriorating and the plight of workers worsening by the day. It is worth mentioning that, TOR has not had a sustained operation since 2009 and for the last three (3) years, not even a litre of crude oil has been processed in the Refinery, a situation which should be a source of concern to serious workers and well-meaning Ghanaians.

We are especially appealing to the leadership of the GTPCWU TOR local branch and their national officers to stop their diabolic and deceptive activities sponsored by selfish individuals whose objective is to collapse TOR and turn it into a tank farm for the newly built Chinese Sentuo Refinery.

We are incensed at their obsession to use lies, propaganda and every diabolical means possible to stop ongoing efforts by the Board and Management to revive the company.

The GTPCWU TOR local branch which initially represented the junior class of the workforce has now currently been hijacked by few senior staff numbering about twenty (28) members who decided to form a senior staff wing of GTPCWU to prosecute their selfish and diabolical agenda. It is this group that have been sponsored by their pay master to frustrate the effort by the Board to revive the ailing company so it will be turned into a tank farm for the Sentuo refinery and oil trading companies.

Not satisfied with their selfish behavior, majority of us numbering 118 out of the total membership of 155 who were initially part of the GTPCWU TOR local branch have resigned to form the junior staff wing of UNICOF. We consider the leadership of the Senior Staff wing of UNICOF in TOR and their national officers as discerning, strategic and forward looking. The leadership of UNICOF have so far proven that it seeks the interest of the Refinery and its workers better than their colleagues in the GTPCWU. 

We want the leadership of GTPCWU TOR local to stop deceiving the public that they are speaking on behalf of TOR Workers, because as it stands now, they simply do not have a following in TOR. It is a verifiable fact that out a total of 507staff, the Senior Staff wing of UNICOF has215members, the Junior Staff wing of UNICOF has 118 members, GTPCWU (junior staff wing) has only 38members, GTPCWU (Senior staff wing) has only 28 members and109are management and non-unionized staff. In effect, both GTPCWU junior and senior wings represent only13%of the total workforce.

For close to a year now, the leadership of the near defunct union (GTPCWU) had misled its members to believe that there were other viable alternatives to the one currently being worked on. This has turned out to be false. For the record, the following so-called alternatives they keep mentioning namely; Intercontinental, African Finch, Legacy Capital and Falcon Oil were rejected by the Board either because their proposals were uninspiring or their demands could not be met. We understand almost all of them were asking for sovereign guarantees which the Finance Ministry is not ready to provide. 

We want to state categorically that despite the opposition and machinations, we support efforts by the Board and Management to conclude the partnership arrangement to revive the company. We saw a similar opposition against the decision by the management of BOST to engage TSL to handle its terminal business in 2015.Over time, that decision has become a game changer for BOST in terms product accountability and effective terminal operations and the company is now declaring profits year after year.

In the case of TOR, we are aware that the agreement can be revoked within 60 days if the partner is unable to meet certain stringent conditions including making some upfront payments. We are also aware that per the terms, TOR is free to revoke the agreement anytime it finds an alternative deal better than this one. In view of this, we find it difficult to understand the opposition. 

It is to be emphasized that TOR is viable and can be brought back to operation with the right investment and strategic direction. TOR currently has the right expertise in the refinery business and what it requires urgently is funding to retrofit its assets and a guaranteed supply of crude oil to sustain its operations. We are confident that with the requisite financial injection, the management and staff of the Refinery has the necessary technical competence to work with the investor to retrofit and operate the refinery to deliver value to both parties and guarantee job security.

In the midst of all these controversies, we are surprised that the Energy Ministry has so far failed to set the records straight even though it had written a no objection letter on the partnership.

It will be a shame for a strategic national asset like TOR which has been in operation since 1963, to be turned into a tank farm for a newly built Chinese refinery with almost the same capacity as TOR. In this current state of TOR, we cannot afford to be indecisive.

Thank you.

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