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Ghananians on strike in SA mines

04 April 2013, 18:06

About 3000 workers at Gold Fields Ghana have gone on strike to demand an improvement in conditions of service and an end to alleged racism and discrimination.

Workers at Tarkwa and Damang mines refused to go underground yesterday bringing one of Africa's biggest mining concerns to its knees in protest at the recent dismissal of Vice President in-charge of the Gold Fields Ghana Alfred Baku by the predominantly South African management.

Union officials said yesterday management was arrogant and treated mostly black Ghanian workers like black people were treated during apartheid in South Africa.

The General Secretary of the Ghana Mine Workers Union (GMWU), Prince William Ankrah told CAJ News workers are unhappy with the management style and other related issues that undermine the future of some key Ghanaian management personnel².

Ankrah added managers were patronised black workers, aloof and underlined their arrogance by living in secluded and opulent areas while the majority of workers lived in poor neighbourhoods.

Workers, he said, were also unhappy with an unequal pay-scale which was lopsided in favour of white managers, who generally earned more than local colleagues doing similar work.

But Gold Fields Limited, the holding company of Gold Fields Ghana, said in a press release posted on its website the strike was illegal and unprotected.

It stated: Gold Fields is analysing and investigating the demands as a matter of urgency. The company also appeals to all employees to maintain law and order while this process is underway, as the safety and security of all employees is of primary importance.

In a strongly-worded statement, the union railed against discrimination, selective injustices on adjudication of disciplinary cases, and the blatant and unwavering quest and determination to marginalise local workers.

Ankrah also accused management of unilaterally changing terms of a profit sharing deal with workers when it refused to share 1.25 per cent of profits earned in 2012.

Gold Fields deliberately changed the formula for calculating the profits thus ripping employees of out of money that is rightfully theirs under the arrogant pretext of a hostile fiscal regime imposed by government in year 2012, according to the union boss.

- CAJ News


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