Business News of Wednesday, 27 December 2017
The Trades Union Congress of Ghana (TUCG) has expressed strong support and solidarity with its affiliate, the Ghana Mineworkers Union (GMWU), contesting the decision by Goldfields Ghana Limited (GGL) to lay off over 1,700 workers.
“We are getting to the bottom of the matter to ensure that the interests of workers are protected,” the Secretary General of the TUCG, Dr Anthony Yaw Baah, declared at a press conference after the TUC General Council meeting held on Thursday in Accra
The GMWU has rejected the move by the GGL to lay off some of their workers through “contract mining” in replace of “ownership mining,” and the workers leadership have submitted a petition to Parliament and also resorted to the law court for redress.
Addressing journalists on Thursday, Dr said “we have not closed our doors to anybody who wants to talk to us, we are working to take the matter out of court, we are hoping that GGL will see reason to come and talk with us over the issue.”
“The GGL is not giving the union the recognition it deserves…this is the union that has worked with them since they came to this country, we will allow them to take our workers for granted, ” Dr Bah added.
Dr Baah declared the intention of the union to take up the issue with the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, saying “we do not see why government which has come to create jobs will allow GGL to do this kind of thing in December, next to Christmas, we expect government to intervene.
“Why would we encourage these foreign companies to come to our land and exploit our resources and be so heartless to our members and workers of Ghana?” he queried
“Why should we sit down for them to sign an agreement and after one year when we are all sure that they will create jobs, invest more money, but rather sack workers, this is not right,” Dr Baah fumed.
The TUCG boss said gold prices have gone up between last year and now, adding “we expected the company to be reasonable when it comes to sacking of workers, we expected them to have consulted with the union to satisfy both parties.”
Dr Baah said GGL had signed the “Development Agreement” pledging to invest more in the Tarkwa and Damang Mines to create more jobs, what we are seeing is the opposite, we think GGL wants to take Ghanaians for granted after they have received tax concessions.”
The General Secretary of the GMWU, Prince William Ankrah said “our focus is to contest the illogical contract mining module which in our view will not stand the test of time, it is secured toward a few corporate leaders wanting to exploit our people and for that matter reduce the receipt of the nation in terms of PAYE.’
“The module is questionable, you will need an international reputable consulting firm to go into it and advice, some of these multi-nationals take our nation for granted in terms of some of the very concession that they get.. the questions to ask are we going to allow them have a field day and it is up to really contest these questions to see as a nation we can also benefit from mining receipts,” he added.