Labour Unrest Gov’t steps in after protest of Gold Fields workers

The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, said his Ministry will do everything possible to solve the issue.

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Minister of Lands and Natural Resources

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The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, has said that the government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the aggrieved workers of Gold Fields Ghana.

The workers have been protesting over some staff layoffs for some time now.

In an interview with Accra-based Citi FM, Mr Amewu said his Ministry will do everything possible to solve the issue.

READ ALSO: Gun shots injure 4 as Goldfields Tarkwah Mine unrest continues

“Yesterday [ Monday], we had a very extensive meeting together with the Ministry of Labour and the Union executives to resolve this issue. So we have resolved and signed some Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry and union. So that is what we are doing to ensure that we bring this issue to a halt.”

The minister said the new arrangement favours the workers and Ghana as a whole, adding that it will boost local content.

“The union is not against contract mining just like government itself. The rationale basically for contract mining across the world is the idea of local content involvement. We are coming out with a local content agenda which is saying that of course, you need to get Ghanaian companies to also do the mining, so this is in the interest of the country. The principles of the layoffs are such that whoever comes in as the staff contractor is going to re-engage those workers and those workers are going be paid 25 percent of their annual salary for every year that they work and the workers themselves are happy.”

“What we have to guard against and make sure it doesn’t happen is that those people who are going to laid off and paid their redundancy packages, we have to make sure those same people are going to be re-engaged and the understanding they have with the mother union is that they will be given the first right of option to make sure that they are engaged by the staff contractor,” he added.

In December 2017, Goldfields Ghana Limited revealed that it would lay off almost 2000 workers.

READ ALSO: 7 arrests made following clashes between Goldfields workers and military

Goldfields Ghana’s Vice President and Head of Corporate Affairs David Johnson explained that the mining model of the firm has changed from owner mining operation to contractor operations.

However, the Deputy General Secretary of the Ghana Mine Workers Union, Abdul Moomin Gbana, at the time indicated that the reasons given by Goldfields were inconsistent with the facts on the ground.

This is the second time in three years that the mining firm has embarked on a massive retrenchment exercise.

A 2014 exercise saw some 400 of its workforce laid off.

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