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Intimidation Galore At Voltic; Workers Being Frustrated To Resign

Snippets of information available to Today indicate that workers of bottled natural mineral water company, Voltic (GH) Limited (Voltic), are being frustrated and undervalued by management of the company on a week by week basis.

These frustration tactics by the current Voltic management allegedly led by the Managing Director (MD), Mr Simon Everest, has included the lack of respect for and intimidation of hardworking staff members whose unrelenting efforts continue to sustain the company.

In particular, it was established that the lack of respect for employees began when the Financial Director (FD), Sergei Levia, returned from Spain to Ghana on the eve of the partial lockdown in the wake of the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

“Mr Levia treats workers with disdain, and is always seen denigrating them as well,” sources hinted Today.

Aside from that, it was also gathered that management was constantly putting pressure on the workers and giving them unrealistic and unachievable targets, a situation that set many of them up for failure.

According to numerous sources, these tactics have been employed by the current management ostensibly to target key staff members who will brave all odds to stand for their rights.

“What the Everest-led management does is to frustrate key staff members, especially those who will at all times stand up to the foreign-dominated management team and speak up their minds on things they feel are not right,” the sources told this paper.

Today gathered that all these were deliberate and clandestine moves by the management to ease the workers out of their jobs.

Our sources also revealed that the main architect in this hatchet scheme was the company’s Country Human Resource Manager, Naa Adokailey Amofa.

“Naa Adokailey Amofa is in league with management of Voltic and was always ready to do their bidding,” the sources indicated.

Checks by this paper indicated that already some key staff members have fallen victims to the hatchet plan of management.

So far key staff members who have been compelled to resign included key account manager, corporate lawyer, operation accountant, assistant auditor, procurement manager among other very hardworking managers.

Similarly, the plant manager, project engineer and sales and marketing director were all frustrated till they resigned. Interestingly, however, these key positions, the paper understands, have all been filled with foreigners.

Already management has dismissed some five hundred (500) workers in a policy known as ‘Voltic-Get-Fit.’

And it is feared that more workers will lose their jobs in the coming months.

Investigations conducted also revealed a wide gap between salaries of the locals and their foreign counterparts.

In fact, it was akin to the popular Nigerian pidgin saying “Monkey dey work, baboon dey chop,” literally meaning while the locals were doing all the hard work, the expatriates at the helm of affairs who were putting in less effort were eating their minion’s labour.

Furthermore, it was discovered that these expatriate workers were being accommodated in very expensive residential apartments at Airport Hills and Cantonments, with many of them driving four wheel drives.

There have been instances where the local workers have been verbally abused openly by especially Mr Levia

Shockingly, two key regional managers who have served the company for long have had their ranks reduced for no apparent reason.

But in an interview via video conferencing in his office, the MD of Voltic (GH) Limited, Mr Everest, refuted all the allegations, describing them as “unfounded, bogus and fabrications.” Also in the video conferencing was the Public Affairs, and Communications Manager, Mrs Joyce Ahiadorme, and the Human Resource Manager, Mrs Naa Adokailey Amofa.

According to the MD, he has ran companies all over the world and had never disrespected his workers, adding that “nobody in my organisation behaves like that.”

He explained that workers of his company were given realistic and achievable targets, stating that “There is no point setting targets that are not achievable because that doesn’t help!”

On the issue of intimidation, he said: “we very much have an open-door policy. Anybody can walk into my office and talk to me if they have got any concerns or apprehensions.

…There is a very open communication, people can make phone calls or write anonymously to the group on any concerns that they have, noting that “I have nothing to hide.”

On the question of workers being sacked, Mr Everest said: “That is a fabrication of the truth.”

“A number of key people have gone and not because they weren’t performing to the standards required by the organisation. There are a number of people that left before I join this organisation so I can’t comment on their performance. In the case of the Procurement Manager whom I spoke to before he left, he told me he had had a better offer in somewhere else—all the others had left our organisation before I arrived.”

And although he confirmed that there was such policy known known as ‘Voltic-Get-Fit,’ he said it was aimed at making the organisation fit for purpose.

“So my job at the moment is to make sure I have a fit organisation; I can’t have an organisation too big for the volume and revenue that we receive. Obviously, we need to make sure that our cost base is right.”

“…In terms of making people go, we had at least 500 people in the organisation that were on temporary contracts or casual contacts. And when I reviewed the business, clearly, and as we were going into the Covid period, we didn’t need them and it was not likely we would need them going into the future,” he said.

This Voltic-Get-Fit policy, according to him, was on on-going project led by the HR director with other support with the aim of getting value for money for the company.

“We are committed to not letting any of our permanent people go but added that we can’t pay for people who are not adding value to the company—everybody needs to add value, and if I don’t let people go I am going to lose many more millions of dollars—its a business call and its being done fairly and equitably. We haven’t touched any permanent people, so there is no retrenchment of permanent people; we haven’t touched their benefits, their salaries and everybody is being paid with their benefits.

However, he added that any permanent staff members who had left the company had done so on their own volition.

In the case of the two regional managers, Mr Everest said” “Yes we are redesigning the business and we have a project involved led by Naa, who is our HR Director.”

“One of the things that we have done is that we have re-evaluated the structure of the organisation, and its ongoing for the past 18 months and we have eliminated the positions of regional sales manager. Both positions have been eliminated: we don’t actually need them any more in the organisation, going forward.

He was, however, quick to add that these two individuals had been offered alternative jobs, albeit slightly different from their previous jobs.

“…but with same salary etc., which we are perfectly doing in line with the Ghanaian labour laws,” he told our reporter.

He went on to add that the two regional sales managers were not ready to assume their new roles, “hence not working at the moment.”

Meanwhile, Today has observed that the Voltic head office at Medie in the Ga West Municipality in the Greater Accra Region, was brewing with tension which was likely to escalate, if steps were not taken by the powers that be to address the ills perpetuated by management.

Source: Today Newspaper

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