From Albert Nana Asante, Obuasi
OVER 1,000 Anglo Gold Ashanti (AGA) Obuasi Mine ex-casual workers, who were among the over 1,200 workers laid off some time ago by the company, are calling for transparency in the disbursement of compensation allocated to them by their former employers.
They are against the situation where they have to contact leaders of the group for their compensation, instead of receiving them directly from the company.
They have therefore, appealed to the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to compel the AGA to give them the full details of the amount paid for each ex-casual to their leaders.
Addressing the press in Obuasi yesterday on the issue, Mr. John Erzuah, who acted as spokesperson for the group, explained that they were laid off some ten years ago by their former employers without any reasons, and because they felt cheated, “we entered into legal battle with AGA for the payment of compensation and won.”
“But, the unfortunate thing here is that, instead of the company to pay the compensation directly to us, they chose to pay into the account of our leaders, and as at now, we do not know the total amount paid by AGA to our leaders, as well as the documents covering the payments.”
The spokesperson continued that they were only demanding transparency in the mode of payments to the workers, but was quick to add that they would advise themselves if CHRAJ failed to intervene.
He however, appealed to his colleagues not to take the law into their hands, as he had trust in the officials at the Obuasi office of CHRAJ.
“We are not going to apply threats in our quest to fight to know the truth surrounding this payment of compensation to our leaders by AGA,” assured.
He expressed surprise at the mode of payment adopted by AGA in the payment of the compensation, as they were aware that the AGA had a system of making such payments with every person having his payment voucher on the company’s letter head, together with a pay slip.
Meanwhile, the group has officially petitioned the Obuasi office of the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice over the issue.
The petition, signed by five members of the group, and addressed to the Obuasi Director of CHRAJ, was under the headline “Petition for detailed benefit of ex-casual workers of AGA.”
In another development, a number of the ex-casual workers have confided in this reporter that they would resort to a peaceful demonstration, if the issue was not addressed to their satisfaction.