Information reaching Today indicates that all is not well with bottled natural mineral water company—Voltic Ghana Limited.
According to multiple sources, the working environment at Voltic Ghana Limited is characterised by intimidation, abuse, discrimination, and victimization. Especially the workers by the Francois Gazania-led administration, and one other top management member.
This top management member, Today understands, is the company’s Country’s Finance Director (FD), Sergi Levia, a former colleague of the Managing Director (MD), Francois Gazania.
Our sources revealed that the modus operandi, which includes frustration, intimidation and discrimination, towards workers get to the point where one can no longer bear their brunt are thus compelled to tender in their resignations as last resort.
Probing further, Today discovered that the MD and the Country’s finance director carry out their actions through the Human Resource Manager, who is their close ally.
The paper was also reliably informed that the arrival of the current MD has seen a dilution of the top hierarchy of the Commercial Team, who hitherto were very vocal, passionate and worked hard to help the business chalk loads of successes.
In our interaction with some of the workers on condition of anonymity, they intimated that the premises of the company has now become a haven of mental harassment and blatant racial abuse of the very people who worked over the years to make the business attractive and lucrative for the acquisition by the multi-national company.
In fact, our sources said all the expatriate workers in the company are treated like “Kings and Queens,” while the rest are pressured and treated with disdain, almost on a daily basis.
“And those who try to stand for their rights are intimidated and victimised with threats of job losses,” our sources hinted.
Our sources further revealed that, for instance, some Ghanaians who held top management positions at the company have been pushed away and replaced by expatriates. A typical example, they said, were the people in charge of Plant and Logistics respectively.
“What kills the morale of workers are the gross disrespect by these expatriates to their local colleagues without showing the slightest courtesy to the staff who have worked hard for the company for many years,” our sources said.
In some instances, Today gathered that staff are invited to the MD’s office with their bosses, summoned before the MD, where they were threatened for non-performance and abused with threats of job losses, particularly when there are issues purely beyond their control or caused by certain poor decisions in business practices.
Our sources also said that expatriates are deliberately brought in as consultants whose main objective is to find fault(s) which in some cases results in Ghanaian workers especially pushed away and replaced by some back-up foreign staff.
But when Today reached out to the Country’s Public Affairs and Communication Manager of Voltic (GH) Limited, Joyce M. Sackitey-Ahiadorme, via phone the first time, she asked that we allow her space to forward our queries to management for a response.
After contacting her a second time, she described the allegations as complete “lies and falsehoods” about Ghanaian staff being subjected to intimidation, abuse, and discrimination by the management of any kind.
According to her, these claims came as a surprise to her since there were no records in the company and Labour Commission Department to that effect.
“There are laws and policies in this country which guarantee employees safety and protection in working environments. So, if the employees have issues with their employers they have to report the problems to the Employees’ Association Union, and the management of the company would sit down after which the Labour Commission would come in… and this is the way it should be done,” Madam Sackitey-Ahiadorme said.
“I can tell on record that as PRO of Voltic Ghana Limited, this is the first time l am hearing complaints of Ghanaian staff being intimidated, abused and discriminated at the company,” Madam Sackitey-Ahiadorme told Today.
She said management holds annual durbar which serves as a platform for workers to voice out their grievances.
“But since the inception of these durbars there has not been any complaint(s) of staff intimidation, abuse, disrespect, and discrimination.”
Meanwhile, our investigations uncovered that the former finance director resigned under some very strange circumstances, after which an expatriate was brought in to occupy that post.
And this new finance director, who happens to be a pal of the MD, Today has learned, has the posturing of fault-finding, hostile, gross disrespect towards most of the staff.
This posturing of the current FD, Today understands, has led to the resignation of a key finance manager.
Interestingly, both managers who resigned were once highly appreciated and loved by the top management until the arrival of the new finance expatriate.
In another instance, barely a month ago, a procurement staff was compelled to resign. The reasons, Today gathered, were best known to management.
And even though last year the business saw high production stakes, a section of the workers were denied any salary increment and end-of-year bonuses. The explanation given by management was that the company did not do well.
In the wake of that and to the chagrin of the staff, the new expatriates who were brought were given fancy four-wheel drives and accommodated at plush areas in Accra.
The irony is that at the same time these expatriates continue to travel around with their families enjoying the best facilities in the name of the company, however, the sad thing is that most managers do not even benefit from any rent allowances or bonuses despite working hard to achieve the corporate objectives.
As of the press time yesterday, our sources indicated that a top manager was scheduled to leave by the end of this month.
Against this backdrop, the workers urged the central government to look into the issues at Voltic GH Ltd., and help clamp down on some of these excesses and abuses that take place in these so-called foreign-owned companies in the country.
Story: Ato KEELSON & Freeman KORYEKPOR AWLESU