Roadmap on contract mining policy urgently needed – GMWU

Deserving workers recieving their prizes

Deserving workers recieving their prizes

The Ghana Mine Workers’ Union (GMWU) has called on government to urgently engage stakeholders on the contract mining policy to chart a road map for the sector and help prevent mining company from engaging in contract mining with flimsy excuses.

According to them, the mining companies want to short change Ghanaian mine workers for huge profits and undermine the efforts of the GMWU over the years to improve the remuneration package for Ghanaian Mine workers.

“Recently the GMWU leadership was shocked to hear all of a sudden at a Ministerial meeting, where the sector Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, indicated that contract mining is a government policy. We know a policy is not operationalised overnight. So if there is a notion to get us (Ghanaians) to have a stake in the mining businesses alongside government holding 10 per cent, we will welcome it. The union thinks if it is government policy then it should have been discussed by the social partners to weigh all the options,” Prince William Ankrah, General Secretary, GMWU stated.

He was speaking at a get-together and raffle draw for members in Kumasi to mark this year’s Workers’ Day.

The event brought members together to fraternise, share ideas on current developments in the mining industry and win prizes including digital flat screen television sets, refrigerators, gas-cookers, automatic rice-cookers, electric pressure cookers, microwave ovens, electric kettles, computer multimedia sound systems, mobile phones, ceramic steam irons and GTPwax prints through the raffle draw.

Mr Ankrah said the group would not allow mining companies to exploits mine workers for their corporate greed.

He said the union has at various forums raised concerns about the precarious work environment being forced on the Ghanaian mine worker including a new trend where some management under the guise of contract mining were converting permanent jobs into fixed term contract.

He explained that the phenomenon would negatively affect Pay-As-You-Earn tax (PAYE) which was a major source of revenue generation for the country as well as well endanger the future of Ghanaian mine workers’.

“It definitely will impact on the PAYE and also the pension of the employee.Even though mining sector constitute under one per cent of the job market in Ghana, mine workers  account for 18 per cent of total PAYE in the country, because there is appreciable salary level in the mining sector. Why allow work modules that will make hard working Ghanaians go on retirement and live in poverty and misery because of contract mining,” the General Secretary added.

As a government committed to creating the environment for decent and well paid jobs, he said the group was at a loss as to why government would support the contract mining module of work and be jeopardising the future of Ghanaian mine workers.

Mr Ankrah reiterated the group’s readiness to work with all stakeholders to ensure very serene labour relations and healthy working conditions for mine workers’ and asked for support from members in standing firm against negative corporate practices.

“The signal is that as members of the GMWU we need to stand firm, united and strong, with the conviction thatmembers would not let loose and allow yourselves to be lured into some payment that will jeopardise your future as mine workers,” he added.

Mr Mensah Kwarko Gyakari, National Chairman of GMWU, said the leadership would engage in constructive dialogue with all social partners to do the right thing to save the industry and ensure that the industry survives so that workers get the benefit of what they are due.

By Times Reporter

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