Ex-casual Workers of AGA Want Transparency


Our attention has been drawn to a press statement purportedly organised by some disgruntled ex-workers of AngloGold Ashanti. The statement released at the press statement has been subsequently extensively used by the media, including internet media.
We wish to state categorically that this supposed statement is malicious and meant to throw dust into the eyes of the public. While we are not unaware of the machinations being orchestrated by a few disgruntled former casual workers, we wish to place on record that at no point in time has Mr. John Mahama Baba caused any announcement to be made in respect of the payment of monies to the former workers. The facts of the case are that:
1. In 2000, following the large-scale dismissal of casual workers of AngloGold Ashanti, some workers decided to form the Ashanti Miners Club.
2. This club has at all material times, for the past ten years, represented the interest of the entire group of casual workers who were dismissed from the company.
3. Mr. John Baba Mahama has been the official spokesperson of the group at all times. At no point has any objection been raised about his status as the President of the Ashanti Miners’ Club and, by extension, spokesperson of the ex-casual workers.
4. The suit filed against the company and the Mineworkers Union bears his name and the names of some 3 others, it being a representative action.
5. The leadership of the ex-workers met weekly to deliberate on their case with the company. These meetings also became information-sharing platforms and further served as an avenue for the leadership to seek the general consensus of the workers on matters of importance.
6. Within this period, the club has represented the workers in their legal battles with AngloGold Ashanti and the Ghana Mineworkers’ Union.
7. Furthermore, within this same period, the group has represented the workers in negotiations with the company for a proper severance package for the ex-workers. These negotiations became necessary following the decision of lawyers for both the company and the workers to settle the dispute out of court.
8. In accordance with court rules and procedures, the progress of the negotiations was communicated to the court periodically.
9. While negotiations were on-going, the ex-workers who were attending meetings were regularly updated.
10. When the negotiating team arrived at the final settlement, the exact amount each ex-worker was entitled to was communicated to them appropriately.
11. The series of deductions were made with the consent of the group and were also communicated to the whole group and extensively explained to their understanding. There was no imposition of any kind.
12. AngloGold Ashanti went ahead and paid the bulk amount of money to the High Court accounts, Kumasi, which also paid it into Bank of Ghana account. The money was subsequently transferred into John Akparibo Clients’ Account, the clients’ account of the leading solicitor for the group, who then liaised with the leadership of the group to effect payment to each ex-casual worker. So far, about one thousand one hundred (1,100) out of the one thousand two hundred and fifteen (1,215) ex-casual workers known to the leadership have been paid. It is therefore erroneous for anybody to state, without checking on the facts, that the money was paid into Mr. John Mahama Baba’s personal account.
The entitlements of all the other ex-casual workers are still in the account and they will be paid as and when each of them shows up and identifies himself to the leadership in the appropriate manner.
13. In furtherance of the court’s directive, the settlement was entered as a consent judgement by the High Court. Any person, or group of persons who have any enquires to make may direct same to the High Court, Kumasi.
14. In the last paragraph of the misguided release, Mr. Erzuah grumbles that “… we were made to understand that surface workers would receive GH¢2,000 whilst underground workers would get GH¢2,800 …”. Who made Mr. Erzuah and the rest “to understand”? Is it the AGA or who? Mr. Erzuah should come out clearly and let us know who made them “to understand”. This open-ended statement gives Mr. Erzuah and his colleagues away as persons who, over the past 10 years or more, have not attended meetings of the group to participate in taking decisions but suddenly became active or found their voice when the efforts of the leadership paid off.
Indeed the name “John Erzuah” does not appear in the records of casual workers involved. Who is Mr. John Erzuah? When was he employed?. When was his appointment terminated? More importantly, what is his badge number?
15. The struggle of the ex-casual workers with AGC (later AGA) stretched over a 12-year period, ie. 1998 up to the year 2010. The AGC had a team of lawyers while the ex-casual workers also had a team of lawyers (3 in all) led by one John Akparibo. These were and have been lawyers for the down-trodden who, knowing the plight of the ex-casual workers, never charged any fees all these years. Should they not be paid? If they have to be paid how is that to be done? And you talk about illegal deductions? Madness!
16. Mr. Erzuah appears to notice his very irrelevance to the group. Thus, he causes an announcement to be made in the name of John Baba Mahama, calling on all ex-casual workers to come forward for more money still available to be paid to them. Why does he not cause the announcement to be made in his personal name?
On behalf of myself and the entire leadership of the group I call on all ex-casual workers to treat any such announcement coming from John Erzuah with the contempt it doubly deserves.
17. One of the reasons why the ex-casual workers were able to stand together as a group to contest the case in court or fight for their right all these years was because the group had a common meeting point-SENNET Hotel-in Obuasi. The group has met in this hotel all through from 1998 to 2010. The owner who died only in about May, 2010, charged nothing. Having now been paid should we not show appreciation? Over the years the leadership has held a number of press-conferences and made many other press releases in that hotel and all in the interest of the entire group. All these required money. The group resorted to borrowing on a good number of occasions. Whatever deductions are made are to be used to settle some of these debts.
Concluding, we wish to caution the faceless individuals to refrain from the character assassination of the executives of the Ashanti Miners’ Club who have sacrificed their time, finances and efforts to ensure the successful completion of this case. If these people who hide behind anonymous letters and petitions to radio stations have no gratitude to show, then they should shut up and enjoy the Christmas gift that Mr. John Mahama Baba and the team have so graciously facilitated in giving them.
Finally, for those who are threatening, we wish to serve notice that we have reported the case to the Police. If this cowardly act does not cease, we will be compelled to take legal action against these people.
1. John Baba Mahama:…………………………………………….
2. Johnson Afiamoah:……………………………………………..
3. Andrews Benyarko:…………………………………………
4. Kwaku Mensah:…………………………………………………..
5. Anthony Constantang:………………………………………..
1. Sub-Regional Director – (CHRAJ), Obuasi
2. Leading counsel for Ex-casual workers
3. Municipal Chief Executive, Obuasi
4. The Divisional /District Police Commander, Obuasi
5. AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi Mine
6. To all Media Houses
Source: Ellimah, Richard