An Italian supervisor brought back the gruesome memories of slavery at a company in a Free Zone Enclave in the Western Region by chaining one of his subordinates to a container under the hot afternoon sun as punishment for failing to complete a task assigned him.
The Italian supervisor whose name was given as Manilo Maggiorotto, did the unthinkable with the reason that whenever he assigned work to the victim, he abandoned his and went ahead to help others to do their work. He therefore, thought that the best way to prevent a recurrence of such was to chain him.
However, the action provoked steaming anger among the employees of the multinational logistics company, Gateway Logistics Limited, operating as a Free Zone Company. They therefore appealed to the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC) to ensure that justice was done the culprit.
“He must be apprehended to face the laws of Ghana,” they said. “This is a Free Zone Company. He is in Ghana as workshop supervisor, an expertise that could easily be procured in Ghana but they brought him here and he constantly looks down on us and treats us as if we are nothing,” they said.
When the company was contacted for this alleged ill-treatment, its management acknowledged the incident but declined to comment further saying they were dealing with the issue.
According to the Daily Graphic, one of the workers said the Italian supervisor, on the day of the incident, assigned two of the company’s workers to carry out a task and later reassigned one of them to a different task. In order to work as a team, the victim, whose name was given as Ibrahim Sanou, decided to help another employee so they could finish on time.
The source narrated that when the Italian supervisor came back, he found out that Sanou was not doing what he had asked him to do.
“He, therefore, called him, verbally assaulted him and asked him to go and bring the chain from the container. When Sanou returned, Maggiorotto put it around Sanou’s neck and locked it with a huge padlock. After that he dragged Sanou more than 100 metres to where he originally assigned him. The sad part is that he hooked the end of the chain to a container in the sun and went back to his air-conditioned office, ” the source said.
The source said after Sanou had finished the work, the supervisor asked one of the workers to go and unlock the chain so that the victim would go and carry out other tasks. According to the workers, this dehumanizing incident has gravely affected their morale in the company with the victim being the worst hit. They further explained that Sanou who used to be jovial and energetic, is now constantly depressed. The workers are seeking justice and urged management of the company to ensure Maggiorotto left the workshop for his own good. They are also demanding that he apologise to Sanou and appropriately compensate him.
Meanwhile, the Regional Industrial Relations Officer, Mr Hanson Richard, who works at the office of the General Transport, Petroleum and Chemical Workers Union (GTPCWU) of the TUC said the issue had been reported to the union.
“We are aware management is talking to the victim to withdraw the case, but this is a national issue and it is wrong to dehumanise a national to that extent,” he said.
“I will pursue the case to ensure that Sanou received justice after which they would demand the repatriation of Maggiorotto to serve as deterrent to others,” he added.
He said several meetings with the management of the company indicated that they were also taking up the issue and the GTPCWU would ensure the law was duly applied. Mr Richard recalled a recent case in Accra where a supervisor reportedly slapped a worker with hot pizza as well as the locking of workers out without prior notice at various yards in Takoradi. He therefore urged expatriate workers to learn how to relate to their colleagues to forestall the occurrence of similar incidents.
All these while, the company has refused to release useful information on the steps they are taking towards solving the issue. However, Daily Graphic eventually intercepted a memo written by the company’s managing Director, indicating that the supervisor, Mr Manlio Maggiorotto has left the country and gone back to his homeland Italy. The memo reads:
“I would like to thank Manlio for all his efforts over the past years in the face of considerable difficulties. He brought new levels of engineering experience and competence to the maintenance function and it was through his dynamism that the workshop at Bokro was created,” it said, adding that “He will be greatly missed”.