Mineworkers to declare nationwide strike in 3weeks, if…

Left: Prince William Ankrah, General Secreatary Ghana Mineworkers Union Right: Alfred Baku, Head of West Africa Region and Executive Vice President at Gold Fields Ltd.

The Ghana Mineworkers Union (GMWU) has served notice it will embark on a full-blown strike by Tuesday March 27, 2018, if the government does not call mining giant Goldfields to order.

Per the unions directives which is contained in a statement which was copied to the B&FT, prior to the intended strike action which is expected to take place in three weeks, there will be, “hoisting and wearing of red bands by all workers in the mining industry beginning Tuesday March 13, 2018.”

This will be followed by a sympathy one day sit-down strike action by all workers in the mining industry on Tuesday March 20, 2018, if nothing is done.

A strike notice the B&FT has gathered, has been served the National Labor Commission (NLC).

According to GMWU the strike is as a result of the indiscriminate and intimidation over the company’s attempts to serve termination letters to over 2000 permanent employees to be laid off as part of its proposed retrenchment.

In the statement, the union said, the raging impasse which begun in November 2017 between them and Goldfields Ghana Limited over the latter’s avowed determination to terminate over 2,150 workers’ permanent employment through a redundancy exercise and opt for contract mining appears to have reached a crescendo and the matter now of public concern.

This is why the GMWU, “has painstakingly put the relevant facts and all the necessary information on the matter into the public space for critical analysis and scrutiny,” the statement said.

This comes after tension is said to be rising because the management of the mining giant Goldfields, last weekend is said to have brought in armed Military men to ensure that, workers collect termination letters which allow Goldfields move from “Owner Mining” to “Contract Mining”.

But even that was not enough, as enterprise union officials who attempted to apprise unionized workers of the developments in respect of the court ruling and matters arising were either arrested or locked out.

“Sadly, unionized workers who also did not sign these letters were also locked out.”

It took the National leadership of the Ghana Mineworkers Union (GMWU) to move into the Tarkwa mine of Goldfields to claim the staff who are union members and stop the distribution of the said letters by management.

Following the huge armed military presence, the B&FT has gathered that, there is an atmosphere of insecurity, fear and panic has since engulfed the workers at the Goldfields (Tarkwa Mine) with most of them not too sure of what to expect next.

As a consequence of the foregoing, the National Executive Council of Ghana Mineworkers (TUCG) called an emergency Council meeting on March 6, 2018 at Tarkwa to extensively deliberate on the Gold Fields issue and have resolved that if Government and its regulatory institutions does not call Gold Fields to order despite the glaring infractions on the law the union will go ahead with its intended nationwide strike.

However, the union warns it will go ahead with the full-blown strike action in the third week if the development continues, since Goldfields is strengthened by the presence of military personnel who had been sent to the mine a day earlier and without recourse to the application for stay of execution, coerced workers to sign unto redundancy letters in the full glare of armed military personnel.

The union also accused the mining giant of showing disrespect to legal framework in Ghana that, “typical of their ruthless character as multinationals and their penchant for disregarding host country legal framework and sanctity of contracts, the Company has unilaterally set aside the Labour Act 2003 (Act 651) and the collective agreements and have gone ahead to force redundancy terminations on the workers.”

“That the needless maltreatment and psychological trauma inflicted on our colleagues at Gold Fields is extreme injustice, which if left unattended will sooner than later become a threat to justice everywhere for workers in the mining industry and by extension workers in general particularly those in the private sector in Ghana,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, the Union has also served notice that it is initiating international campaign on the matter by publishing the dossier on the matter on the various stock exchanges of the Company, petition the ILO and call international solidarity support from its sister unions in South Africa as well as other global union federations since the powers that be in Ghana are not showing the commitment to resolve the matter internally.

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