Ex-workers of Goldfields still crying for help

From Alfred Adams, Tarkwa

Mrs. Eugenia Gifty Kusi

600 ex-workers of Goldfields Ghana Limited (GGL), a mining company operating at Tarkwa, have threatened to invade the company’s premises if their grievances are persistently ignored by the management of the company.

The ex-workers, who were laid off in 1999, have been pursuing the management of GGL to pay them their severance award but to date, nothing had come out.

The workers claim the management of GGL did not give them three months notice, as stipulated in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), while the contents of the CBA were also amended without the knowledge of the workers.

The ex-workers were laid off following the closure of the underground mine. This closure attracted the wrath of the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tarkwa Nsuaem, Mrs. Gifty Kusi, who chided the GGL, and appealed to them to consider re-opening the underground mine to create employment.

Following the failure of the GGL to pay the ex-workers their severance awards, the latter recently took to the streets of Tarkwa to demonstrate over what they described as the ‘lackadaisical’ attitude of the GGL to honour their severance awards.

Mr. William Atinka, spokesman of the ex-workers, at the end of their said demonstration presented a petition to the Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Mrs. Christina Cobbinah, for onward submission to President Mills.

Mr. Atinka also expressed worry over a decision by the police to bar them from going to present a similar petition to the management of Goldfields, as had earlier been agreed upon.

Mr. Atinka told reporters that though the police had approved their routes and given them the necessary support, they surprisingly betrayed them by stopping them from going to the gates of the company to present their petition.

“We will comply with the directive, but if by January 15, nothing positive comes out of our petition, we shall invade the premises of the company, and will be willing to die there,” they threatened.

He said the company failed to pay them interest on their Provident Fund, and the ex-workers took the case to the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), and then later to the High Court.

Mr. Atinka said the courts ruled against them, but the management of the company, at various meetings, which spanned 17 months, the company agreed to pay them GH¢20,000, but this could not be implemented.

He said Mr. Anthony E. Amoah, former Western Regional Minister, and Messrs Smith Holdbrook, Mr. Mubashir T. Dari, Dr. Tony Aubynn, Gerald Boakye, Mr. Steve Yirenkyi, and Keningan participated in a series of meetings and various agreements reached during such meetings.

He called on the management and the government to take decisive steps to prevent any incidents.

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