‘Government’s silence on rectification of occupational safety, health standards in mines worrying’

ankrahThe government has been urged to ratify the International Labour Organisation Convention (ILO) 176 (Safety in the Mines Convention) to elevate the country’s occupational safety and health standards in the mines to international standards.

The Ghana Mineworkers Union (GMWU) of the Ghana Trades Union Congress is worried about the government’s silence over the ratification of the convention over the years.

The leadership of the mineworkers union commended the government’s initiatives so far aimed at addressing “the glaring unemployment situation in the country”.

“We, however, urge it to accelerate the pace of its activities in order to create opportunities for the teeming unemployed masses, particularly the youth in our country because of the untold hardship it has brought to many of our youth who desperately just want to do anything to survive with drive consequences,” it added.

This is contained in a communiqué issued by the National Executive Council of the GMWU at its meeting held in Accra, to deliberate on the issues affecting the mining sector, with the attempt by the Goldfields Ghana Limited to downsize and throw about 1,700 workers out of job dominating the discussions.

The communiqué expressed regret over what it described as “ruthless decision to implement a contract mining option which would impact on the jobs of over 1,700 workers with serious economic and social consequences”.

 

“The government and the industry stakeholders must as a matter of urgency take immediate actions to halt the implementation of Gold Fields Ghana Limited’s contract mining decision/strategy because there is no logical business case to warrant such a model at this time, considering the potential socio-economic consequences on workers and their families, the Tarkwa community and the nation as a whole,” the communiqué said.

The communiqué added  “there is a creeping phenomenon of unconventional methods of mining that support short term profiteering motives of multinationals in the mining industry but with long term ramifications on the life of mine and future of the stakeholders particularly workers, host communities and the nation as a whole”.

It commended the government for passing the Special Prosecutor’s Bill and urge it to   “deal decisively with corruption”.

The GMWU has since submitted a petition to Parliament for redress over the issue with the GGL claiming that it has not taken any decision to lay off the workers but was doing an evaluation.

By Times Reporter

 

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