Business News of Wednesday, 20 December 2017
The Ghana Mineworkers Union (GMWU) of the Ghana Trades Union Congress of (GTUC) has called on the government and its regulatory agencies to, as a matter of urgency, halt the implementation of a contract mining option by Goldfields Ghana Limited which will impact on the jobs of about 1,700 workers.
According to the union, the management of Goldfields had made a ruthless decision, and there was no logical business case to warrant such a contract mining option which would lead to retrenchment of workers.
In view of the alarming unemployment rate, the union urged the government to intervene and stop the decision by the company.
The GMWU made the call in a resolution it adopted at its National Executive Council meeting in Accra.
Last Thursday, about 160 members of the GTUC massed up at the main entrance of Parliament House in Accra to present a three-page petition, which contained their grievances and demands, to Parliament.
They appealed to Parliament to probe the decision by Goldfields Ghana Limited to embark on a contract mining which they claimed threatened the jobs of more than 1,700 workers of the company.
But at a press conference in Accra last Monday, the Executive Vice-President of Goldfields Ghana, Mr Alfred Baku, explained that the decision by management to revert to contract mining was to ensure the sustainability of the company.
He said an estimated $519 million of sustaining and operating capital would be needed to maintain operations at the Tarkwa Mines, with equipment replacement expenditures scheduled to begin in 2018.
Mr Baku stated that the effective mine life did not support the repayment of a mining capital portion.
In its resolution, the GMWU said Goldfields was giving an excuse of ageing machinery and the mine having only five to six years of its life span left to operate.
Due to that, the union said Goldfields was considering outsourcing some units to contract service providers with the aim of maximising its profit.
It added that the contact companies would reduce permanent workers to temporary workers without paying them any benefits.
Stressing that Goldfields had misled the government and the people of Ghana, the union urged the government to investigate to ascertain the truth since the company had made factual inaccuracies.
“Where falsehood is established, the necessary sanctions and penalties duly applied to serve as a deterrent to multinationals who operate in the industry,” the resolution stated.
Concerned about the lapses in the role of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and its agencies in supervising the activities of mining companies, the union called on the government and its regulatory agencies to re-examine the Stability Agreement to eliminate the ‘non-compete clause,’ which has given an unfair competitive advantage to a few large-scale companies at the expense of others.
“The government must deal decisively with corruption by eliminating the seeming collusion and the lackluster attitude of the state actors with the authority to punish the perpetrators of this economic pandemic that is siphoning so much scarce resources from the national kitty and stifling the country’s development,” it stated.