Gold Fields Ghana condemns demonstration of ex-workers

Accra, Jan. 13, Ghanadot/GNA – Gold Fields Ghana (GFG) on Tuesday condemned the actions of some ex-workers of the company who, on December 22 last year staged a demonstration at the main access way to the Tarkwa Mine premises, describing it as “unjustified and unlawful methods calculated to tarnish the good reputation of the company”.

In a statement e-mailed to the Ghana News Agency in Accra, it said these persons were employees laid off in 1999 due to fundamental changes in the overall operations of the mine.

The statement said their claims, including wrongful dismissal and alleged unpaid accrued interest on their provident fund were dismissed by the courts.

Giving a background to the incident, GFG said it acquired the underground operations at Tarkwa from the erstwhile State Gold Mining Corporation (SGMC) in 1993.

It said although the remaining life of the mine, at the time of acquisition, was estimated at three years, GFG ensured its operation for six years.

“By 1999 the underground mine was no longer viable. GFG therefore suspended underground operations and began open-pit mining. This fundamental change from underground to open-pit mining required a scaling down of the Company’s workforce,” it said.

It said GFG, in close consultations with the Ghana Mine Workers Union, followed the due legal process of retrenchment and redundancy prescribed by the Labour Law and the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) then in force.

It said each affected employee was duly paid his or her compensation agreed with the Ghana Mine Workers Union and in accordance with the provisions of the Labour Law and the CBA.

“Years after receiving their compensation payments, a section of the retrenched ex-workers raised issues with the process and payments they had already received.

“The group subsequently initiated a court action against GFG on some five claims (including their current claim for payment of interest on Provident Fund contributions), These claims were each dismissed by the High Court.”

The statement said having failed in the courts, the group had now resorted to “unorthodox and illegal means, including demonstrations and roadblocks attempting to hold GFG to ransom for the payment of further sums”.

GFG said it was under no obligation to make any payments to the group, adding that their claims were groundless and without merit.
It said the company had expressed its willingness to consider providing assistance to a development project that the ex-workers group may, by themselves undertake.



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