Mine workers Union to strike over planned Goldfields layoffs

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The Ghana Mine workers Union says it will commence its strike next Tuesday to protest attempts by Goldfields Ghana Limited to layoff about 1500 workers and re-employ them on contract basis.

The Union has indicated that their action will begin with hoisting and wearing of red bands by all workers, followed by series of activities including what it calls a “sympathy one day sit-down strike”.

Speaking to Citi News about their planned action, the General Secretary of the Union, Prince William Ankrah, said: “20th will be a sympathy strike where we will ask all the mining companies and employees to join, then if nothing happens, 27th will be the main action.We hope that in the process, there will be some solutions.”

Goldfields had explained that the move forms part of measures to change its business model, and make the company profitable due to the relatively short lifespan of the mine.

The workers are however opposed to the move, describing the reasons being given by the company as disingenuous.

Petition against layoffs

The workers had earlier petitioned Parliament over Goldfields’ intended layoff.

According to the Union, the move by the company amounted to unfair labour practice.

The General Secretary of the Union, Prince William Ankrah who presented the petition had indicated that the basis for the company’s actions is unfounded and could result in the loss of revenue for many of the workers.

“Goldfields intends having its own way. We are a law-abiding union, we’ve had stability in our industry for many years. We deem it expedient to make sure that we present the petition to the honourable House so they understand the dynamics and seeing how best to address the issue…We are demanding that Goldfields cannot do what they intend doing by subjecting our members to a mining contract. Members will lose revenue streams,” he said.

The Union later dragged Goldfields to court.

In the writ, the workers prayed the court to restrain Goldfields from going ahead with the intended redundancy exercise until all the stakeholders involved.

They also wanted the court to say that the redundancy exercise was “unlawful.”

But the court in its ruling on March 2, 2018 dismissed the injunction application.

The court presided over by Justice Laurenda Owusu, said the mining company risks losing more if the court halts the ongoing layoffs before a determination of the substantive matter on whether they acted within law.

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