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Owere Mines workers besiege Lands Ministry over salary arrears

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Workers of Owere Mines Limited besieged the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources today [Wednesday], to demand the Ministry’s intervention in the failure by the company to pay their salary arrears and other financial commitments.

The workers accused the Ministry of not doing much to address their concerns despite assurances from Lands Minister, John Peter Amweu that his outfit would look into the matter.

According to Citi News’ Anass Seidu who reported from the scene, a Memorandum of Understanding had been signed in August assuring the workers that their salaries arrears would be paid, something they claim has not been done.

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The representative of the workers, Francis Owusu, told Citi News that,“We are here just to send our message and grievances to the Minister. We were here on August 1 to petition his office to intervene in our precarious situation. When we came, the Minister gave us his word that in seven days, he’s going to ensure that we find a solution to our problems. But as we speak, we’ve not had any concrete solution despite the MoU that we signed with them.”

“It’s only the payment of the salary arrears from January and February 2016, but since then, they have gone back to sleep. We want the Ministry to intervene because it seems there’s a deep crack between the Directors of the company which is why we aren’t getting pragmatic solutions to our plight.”

The acting Chief Director of the Lands Ministry, Alhaji Sulemana Mahama, addressed the agitated workers, and called for calm. He also repeated the Ministry’s assurances to deal with the matter.

He stated that, following the workers’ initial complaints, the Ministry had held discussions with the company whose managers had indicated that they were addressing the issues.

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“You were here in your numbers in early August. When you came, actually the Minister met with you, and indicated that, he was going to intervene. We called Owere mines to find out what their problems were. From that [meeting], series of discussions were supposed to have taken place with the workers, and the Mine Workers Union. Our understanding was that, the dialogue was going on. The Ministry’s position was that, once it had started and was working, there was supposed to be two months payment and that was settled. The remainder was what was supposed to be settled in September,” he said

“Not having heard anything since then, our understanding was that, the terms of the agreement were being met. Now that you have drawn our attention that this has not been done, we would have to go back and engage the company after which we’ll advise the government on definite decisions.”

By: Edwin Kwakofi/citifmonline.com/Ghana