Newmont workers threaten strike

Business News of Monday, 16 March 2015

Source: Daily Guide

Prince William Ankrah Mine Workers

Workers of Newmont Ghana Gold Limited have given the company a one-week notice for a possible industrial action following delays in concluding negotiations on their conditions of service.

Owing to the feet-dragging, the workers say they are “left with no other option than to officially notify you in line with Section 159 of the Labour Act 2003 (Act 651) and notice is hereby given today, Friday, March 13, 2015, that the Union will embark on strike to press home our demands.”

Under the Labour Act, the workers needed to give their employers seven days notice before a strike action could be declared, otherwise it would be an illegal action.

“We have observed with grave concern, management’s inertia and intransigent posturing towards the 2014 negotiations.

Our apprehension is further heightened by the protracted and the positional bargaining stance adopted by management ostensibly to unduly delay and frustrate the negotiations for our Branch & PMS Unions,” Prince William Ankrah, General Secretary of Mineworkers Union, stated in a letter sent to Newmont management and copied to the National Labour Commission.

They said it was regrettable that “your approach has escalated the already heightened expectations of our members to simmering tension beyond what the Union could contain in our constituencies in your operational sites.”

The union, which has the mandate to lead the negotiation for the workers, said, “this ugly posture cannot be entertained any longer, having exhausted our patience since October, 2014. the monotonous, and what in our view amounts to elementary negotiations style where management keeps emphasizing its preferred approach to concluding a deal, is indeed astonishing.”

Meanwhile, eight ex-workers of AngloGold Ashanti (Ghana) Limited have sued the company for failing to pay their retrenchment entitlements.

Joined in the suit are the directors, senior vice president, managing director, senior manager human resource, manager human resource, head of operations and the industrial relations superintendent -all with Anglo Gold Ashanti.

The eight aggrieved ex-workers are Felix Bartels, Andrews Nyarko, Evans Donkor, John Acquah, Adu Gyamfi, Gilbert Agyiri, Maxwell Adjei and Jonathan Faara Ali.

The workers are praying the court to compel the defendants to jointly and severally or by whichever mode or means, pay to them all unpaid retrenchment packages and gratuity, ex-gratia awards, unpaid leave allowances, compensation for occupational injury and related diseases, all unpaid provident fund and its benefits, all other entitlements.

According to a suit filed in the Kumasi High Court, the plaintiffs say that sometime in October 2012, Anglo Gold Ashanti had engaged now defunct Mining and Building Construction (MBC) Co. Ltd for underground construction and development of its gold mine at Obuasi to which Anglo Gold Ashanti transferred them and some other colleagues as borrowed labour under assurance that persuaded them to work with the company.

However, on 11 October, 2012, AngloGold arbitrarily terminated the contract with its then agent but assured the affected workers that it would assume responsibility and other underground development activities of MBC co. Ltd following the 28-day lay-off notice given the plaintiffs and further pledged AngloGold Ashanti’s commitment to ensuring that members of the MBC workforce received their entitlements known to AngloGold Ashanti at the time, including the 15% end of contract benefit and provident fund.

According to the ex-workers, AngloGold Ashanti further stated that it would pay for all occupational injury suffered by the workforce while at work.

However, the plaintiffs, contrary to the collective agreements they had executed with the defendant company, remained unpaid – except only 14 out of the entire workforce several months after their layoff.