The Ghana Mine Workers Union (GMWU), has called on the government to renew its commitment to fight against the menace of “galamsey” (illegal mining).
The union said the practice currently threatens the survival and existence of vibrant mining industries.
Mr. Prince William Ankrah, General Secretary of the union, described the menace of galamsey as a shameful and barbaric onslaught on legally registered companies’ concessions.
Speaking at the just ended National Executive Council’s meeting of the GMWU in Kumasi at the weekend, Mr Ankrah said the situation, which has reached uncontrollable levels, only inure to the benefit of few selfish and greedy individuals, but which is fast destroying the future of generations yet unborn.
A case in question he mentioned is the AngloGold Ashanti, Obuasi Mine gruesome attack by illegal small scale miners on its concession, which resulted in the death of a top management staff of the company.
Another mining company, he cited, is the Owere Mines in Konongo where the galamsey operators invaded and took control of the Mine’s concession for weeks, while owners and union members watched helplessly.
Mr. Ankrah said the safety and security of mining companies and their members could not be guaranteed anymore, given the organised, sophisticated and aggressive nature of the galamsey and their attacks on the concessions.
“Today, our cherished members are living and working in fear, not sure what the next headline story would read. Sadly, these nefarious activities are carried out in the fullest glare of the powers that be, unfortunately with impunity,” he said.
Enforcement of the law according to him still remains a major challenge and needed to be looked at closely devoid of politicisation and cronyism.
Mr. Kwarko Mensah Gyarkari, National Chairman of the union, who also addressed the situation, predicted doom for the industry and the country’s revenue basket if nothing is done to check the practice.
“If steps are not taken by those who call the short to stop this wanton disregard to law and order, within the shortest time possible, the whole mining industry would be swept by these galamsayers,” he said.
Mr. Mensah said the industry now sees permanent jobs being subjected to either fixed short term contracts or casual work to the detriment of the working people but to the advantage of employers and particularly, multinational companies.
“This trend is inimical to our members’ growth and indeed has the potential to threaten our very survival as a trade union movement,” he said.