The Ghana Mineworkers ‘Union, GMWU, as part of the 2022 May Day celebration held its annual May Day funfair and raffle draw after participating in the May Day parade at Black Star Square in Accra.
The May Day funfair and raffle draw has become a major feature of GMWU’s May Day activities, where members from the various mines who participate in the national May Day Parade have the opportunity to be lucky winners of prizes which include giant TV sets, laptops, burner gas cookers, fridges, washing machines, microwave ovens, blenders, kettles and irons among other items.
General Secretary of the GMWU, Abdul-Moomin Gbana, said at the raffle event that while May Day is an auspicious occasion to honour dedicated, hard working members, GMWU decided this year to do something unique by celebrating the Vice President and Managing Director of Golden Star Resources Limited, Mr. Shaddrack Adjetey Sowah, for championing policies considered a win-win situation for both workers and the company’s shareholders.
GMWU showed appreciation to one of the mining industry employers for the urgency with which its management approached workers issues in sustaining productivity.
The GMWU said the Vice President and Managing Director of Golden Star Resources Limited, Mr. Shaddrack Adjetey Sowah and his team, created an environment that respects and recognises workers’ rights for the mutual good of management and labour.
Abdul-Moomin Gbana raised issues with the kind of employment tactics some mining companies resort to these days, and called on stakeholders to have open and frank engagement regarding what he described as these new forms of employment being adopted by such mining companies – so that the worker is not disadvantaged in terms of job and income security, as well as other welfare concerns.
“May Day, as you are all aware, is an international workers’ day; a very special day that was born out of struggle – and for that matter, it’s always important to remember and commemorate this special day. People had to die and leave their personal liberties so this day could happen,” the GMWU general Secretary observed.
“The spate of increasing non-standard forms of employment is a major worry. I must say that there’s an increase in non-standard forms of employment – which include casual work, fixed-term employment and contract work. Hitherto, jobs within the mining industry were predominantly permanent in nature; but what we see is a gradual shift from permanency into temporary employment, fixes-term and casual work”.
He went on to say: “It’s actually a gradual feature that is becoming part and parcel of our labour market, and it’s important for Organised Labour to marshal all the strength and force that’s needed to be wrestle with this matter because it is about survival.
“If we don’t deal with this canker now, the future will be a major worry for all of us. So, while labour law reform is important, it’s also important that immediate action becomes an initiative. And like I said, for organised labour one of our key values is collective action, wherein we engage and use law. And if it doesn’t work out the way we expect it to, we must deploy the appropriate tools and strategy – which includes collective action.”
Additionally, the National Chairman of the GMWU, Mr. Mensah Kwarko Gyakari, lauded the worker-centred approach of the Vice President and Managing Director of Golden Star Resources Limited, Mr. Shaddrack Adjetey Sowah, which has created good management-union working relations.
Mr. Shaddrack Adjetey Sowah thanked the Ghana Mineworkers Union for honouring him as an employer with the national May Day Award. He shared some thoughts on the mining sector, and called for proactive collaboration to consciously recognise the critical role of workers in enhancing productivity.
“I think it is quite important and a first in the industry that an employer is honoured by the union. It all depends on the collaboration between the union and the employer,” Sowah stated.
“When you talk about factors of production – Land, Labour Capital and Entrepreneurs – more often than not we do forget the labour part. Labour plays an integral part in production. So you need to recognise them and give them what is due, respect their rights and privileges; and make them understand that in as much as you put your money into it, they are also important and you need to respect them.
“The mining sector plays an integral role in Ghana. Its capital intensive, and for me it contributes a lot in terms of Foreign exchange,” he added.
Some members of Ghana Mineworkers Union, including Mr. Peter Baaka Wilson of Newmont Ahafo and Mr. Gideon Yankah of Golden Star, Wassa, asked their colleagues to appreciate the sacrifices of past and present labour leaders in their engagements with other social partners to ensure improved working conditions.