General News of Tuesday, 13 March 2018
Vice President and Stakeholder Relations for Gold Fields Ghana Limited, David Johnson, has said the company’s transition from owner mining to contract mining, which is expected to lead to the laying off and re-employment of about 1,500 employees on contract basis, is not borne out of selfish interests.
Some employees of the company staged a demonstration on Monday to resist the transition which formally began on Monday.
Mr. Johnson, on Eyewitness News explained that the move was aimed at sustaining the operations of the company.
“As management, we have a duty and a right to make decisions that are not only right for employees but all stakeholders. And I am talking about communities, I am talking about investors, I am talking about government and I am talking about employees themselves. We take all of these into the decisions that we make. If we have to make decisions solely based on the interests of one category of stakeholders, we might be running the mine down and we believe that as management it is better to have a sustainable operation.”
He indicated the company’s decision to employ workers on contract basis will still serve the interest of the workers.
“We are making this decision to prolong the life of the mine and workers would have work to do whether they are working directly under the umbrella or on contract. They would have work to do for a longer period.”” Mr. Johnson explained.
Petition against layoffs
The workers had earlier petitioned Parliament over Goldfields’ intended layoff.
According to the Union, the move by the company amounted to unfair labour practice.
The General Secretary of the Union, Prince William Ankrah who presented the petition had indicated that the basis for the company’s actions is unfounded and could result in the loss of revenue for many of the workers.
“Goldfields intends having its own way. We are a law-abiding union, we’ve had stability in our industry for many years. We deem it expedient to make sure that we present the petition to the honourable House so they understand the dynamics and seeing how best to address the issue…We are demanding that Goldfields cannot do what they intend doing by subjecting our members to a mining contract. Members will lose revenue streams,” he said.
The Union later dragged Goldfields to court.
In the writ, the workers prayed the court to restrain Goldfields from going ahead with the intended redundancy exercise.
But the court in its ruling on March 2, 2018, dismissed the injunction application.
The court presided over by Justice Laurenda Owusu, said the mining company risks losing more if the court halts the ongoing layoffs before a determination of the substantive matter on whether they acted within law.