Workers Demand Immediate Intervention To Save ‘Dying’ Neoplan Ghana

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Workers of Neoplan Ghana are asking government to urgently intervene to save the ailing company from imminent collapse.

They say inadequate state funding and denial of government contracts have brought the auto assembly plant to a state of weakness.

The workers used the May Day parade in Kumasi to draw attention to their plight by showcasing a fully-built bus and another one under construction.

Local Union Chairman, Kofi Sena, says the company currently thrives on the benevolence of private corporate institutions and individual transport operators.

The government of Ghana owns 55 percent shares in Neoplan Ghana, which builds and services buses with remaining shares owned by a private entity.

The company, through Netherland-based VDL Group, was contracted by government in 2005 to assemble over 400 DAF buses for Metro Mass Transit Limited.

Until the introduction of MMT, Neoplan Ghana built buses for the defunct Omnibus Services Authority (OSA), S.O. Transport Limited, public universities and private individuals in Ghana and neighbouring West Africa countries such as DEBAG Ltd, Burkina Faso.

Government has since shifted attention to the importation of Chinese and Indian buses, rendering the local company almost redundant.

Neoplan has been operating far below capacity and has had to terminate the appointments of valuable technical staff due to lack of new orders for the factory in Kumasi though the company has the capacity.

Workers say efforts to get state support, including letters to the Ashanti Regional Administration, have yielded no positive result.

Kofi Sena, says workers were compelled to take buses to the May Day parade ground because all avenues to get attention had been exhausted.

“Today, we brought this bus over here for the government to see that Neoplan Ghana is not collapsed; Neoplan Ghana is still existing in the nation. We brought this bus here for government to support us; to give us contracts.

This is the only production plant in West Africa so why are we not promoting it? Why do we want it to collapse? That is why we brought the bus,” he told Nhyira FM.

Relying on the private sector for jobs has affected revenue inflow, leaving management to struggle to pay salaries of workers in absence of production.

The workers want government to stop the importation of Chinese buses and renew its contract with Neoplan Ghana to build buses for Metro Mass Transit and public schools.

“Because of that, for three months now, we have not received our salaries because we are not producing; we are not doing anything. We come to work, we sit down and at the end of the day we go home. So we are not getting anything. That’s how we are living,” he explained.

Asked if the company is on the verge of collapsing, he responded in the affirmative.

“Yes! I can say that it is at the verge of collapsing because the government shares in it but it is not looking at it and so I will say it is at the verge of collapsing,” he added.

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