The Chief Labour Officer, Eugene Koletey is urging aggrieved workers of Goldfields Ghana to return to the negotiation table over the planned retrenchment exercise of the company.
According to him, their grievances cannot be resolved through protests but amicably through negotiation with the management of the company.Speaking on , Mr. Koletey revealed that an earlier planned meeting between the two parties did not take place after management of the company declined to attend.
He said the management’s stance must not encourage workers to stage protests over the matter, but follow due procedure.
“The Union informed us that there were thorny issues that were not raised so we wrote back to management requesting that they go back to the union to iron out their differences. When we saw that that was not done, we wrote back to request the parties to come for us to engage them, which we were anticipating that last Tuesday we will meet for a discussion on the union. The union representatives were there but management declined,” he said.
“The way forward is an engagement. The Union and management have to still come to the table for a discussion for us to reach a consensus. It is not a matter of threatening words, it is not a matter of demonstration, you still have to come to the negation table,” he added.
There is an ensuing impasse between management and staff of Goldfields Ghana Mine, as the company says it is changing its business module, and will be forced to lay off some workers.
Goldfields Ghana Limited told Citi Business News this week, that it will lay off about 1,500 workers this month, as part of measures to change its business model, and make the company profitable due to the relatively short lifespan of the mine.
But the Deputy General Secretary of the Ghana Mine Workers Union, Abdul Moomin Gbana, said the reasons given by Goldfields was inconsistent with the facts on the ground.
“Goldfields claims the life of the mine is 5 to 6 years, and based on the limited time, they cannot invest in mining fleet… It can actually run for a number of years and you don’t necessarily need to replace the fleets that Goldfields claims it wants to do. Records available to us indicates that, contrary to their claim of the life of the mine of 5-6 years, they have over 15 years of mine and so the question is, if your choice of contract mining is based on a limited life of mine and your own website projects 15 years, then, the question is, who are you misleading,” he said.
The workers have since petitioned parliament to look into the matter, but Mr. Kolotey believes they must still engage his office to amicably resolve the matter.
He noted that the workers can proceed to the National Labour Commission if they are still dissatisfied with the outcome of the expected negotiation.
“Where you cannot agree between the two, the law provides that you go to the National Labour Commission which is an independent body to look at the issue and bring finality to the matter,” he said.
Meanwhile, an Industrial Relations Expert, Kofi Davor, has suggested that workers of Goldfields Ghana can proceed to court if they feel dissatisfied about results from the various labour arbitrations on their impasse with the management of the company.
By: Jonas Nyabor/citfimonline.com/Ghana