Business News of Saturday, 17 March 2018
A Civil Society group operating within the mining sector, Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM), have joined the Ghana MineWorkers’ Union (GMWU), to kick against Goldfields Ghana Limited’s (GFGL) moves to contractor mining at its Tarkwa mine.
WACAM has therefore called on the government, to immediately intervene and stop the mining giant from going into contract mining, as the workforce who are Ghanaians will be shortchanged and it will lead to unemployment.
In a press statement which was copied to thebftonline.com, and signed by the Executive Director, Hannah Owusu-Koranteng said, if Goldfields succeed in moving into contract mining, it will become the precedent for all other mining companies to adopt the contractor mining model.
WACAM argues that, the investment of GFGL is expected to be used to create mutual benefits for the host country and its investors (shareholders).
Mrs. Owusu-Koranteng further stated that, job creation, payment of corporate taxes and income tax of employees, regarded as some of the rents that accrue to nation, should not be seen as the investor doing the host nation a favour.
The statement comes, after a meeting called by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources on Wednesday, March 14, 2018, to mediate the standoff between Goldfields and the Union which is likely to lead to a full-blown strike within the mining industry ended with Goldfields, impressing on the GMWU to redraw its case in court.
A call the Union told the meeting, it can only be granted by its management members, who are the next highest decision-making body apart from Congress, and National Executive Council (NEC).
The Ghana Mineworkers’ Union and GFGL have since November 2017 been in a dispute over the legitimacy of the company to adopt contract mining instead of the current owner-mining model.
The contract mining will see GFCL hand over its operations at the Tarkwa Mine to private contractors leading to the mining firm lay-off some 1,500 workers according to the company’s Ghana office, even though, the CEO Nick Holland has also stated that, the company will only part with 1,350 of its staff.
According to WACAM, “the transiting from owner mining to contract mining implies that Gold Fields Ghana Limited is shirking its responsibility of creating decent jobs. The affected employees would suffer diminution in their terms and conditions of service.
The contract mining would imply a reduced remuneration for employees and a resultant reduction of aggregate income tax from employees and these negative effects would have cascading effects on society and national development. Gold Fields Ghana Limited is one of the most pampered mining companies.”
“The state has a lot to lose in a shift from owner mining to contract mining. Government should establish a policy against contract mining in Ghana because it is not in the interest of the people of Ghana who are the true owners of natural resources. Let the owner beware and act,” the statement added.