Mineworkers Protest ‘Unbridled Outsourcing’

Prince William Ankrah

THE GHANA Mine Workers Union (GMWU) has raised concerns over what it terms as the unbridled outsourcing of all projects by mining companies operating in the country.

According to the union, the outsourcing comes with its twin challenge of non-standard forms of employment (fixed term contract employment) which continues to gain momentum in the industry with its attendant consequences on workers and communities.

General Secretary of GMWU, Prince William Ankrah, made this known at the National Executive Council Meeting of the union for the first half of the year.

The meeting, which was held at the AGA School in Obuasi from August 8-9, 2019, afforded the union an opportunity to take stock of its activities in the first half of the year.

Besides, it afforded it the opportunity to project into the second half as a basis for critical decision making. According to Mr. Ankrah, given the cheap nature of outsourced projects (particularly those handed to Ghanaians under screwed contract deals, all in the name of local content), mining companies were giving all manner of excuses to exploit through outsourcing and fixed term contract employment to the detriment of workers, communities and government.

He said: “Quite a chunk of mining and its related activities are done by contractors who, because of the nature of their contracts, can only engage workers on fixed term contract bases. The plight of these contractors, most of whom have been given contracts that makes it difficult if not impossible to give any better employment conditions to the fixed term employees’ (although they do the same or even more difficult work), continues to worsen because the mining companies, apart from the suffocating contracts they have given to the contractors, also fail to honour payment for work done and this is heightening tension between contractors, workers and the communities.”

He added: “A case in point is the recent fixed term contract workers’ uprising at Ghana Bauxite Company at Awaso which saw massive destruction to company property and Newmont Ghana Gold Limited local contractor workers demonstration at Ahafo.”

Developments

That notwithstanding, he pointed out that so far the industry had chalked up some successes this year.

“Another positive development for the industry is the current surge in the prices of gold (the precious metal) on the international market,” he said.

“According to kitco.com, the price of gold averaged between US$1,100/oz and US$1200/oz for almost half a decade until the first quarter of 2018, which made most actors particularly investors quite cautious on investment into the industry,” he added.

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