The Ghana Mineworkers Union of the Trades Union Congress has threatened to withdraw its services if the government fails to address security challenges within the mining industry.
The Union’s threat is based on the sudden disappearance of a security official who was deployed to Newmont Ahafo Mine.
The security official, who was employed by a third-party contractor named Protea Coin Ghana is said to have gone missing while attending to nature’s call in a nearby bush
“At around 18:30pm, he asked permission from his supervisors to attend to nature’s call in a nearby bush because the toilet facility at his post and many of the security posts around Newmont Ahafo Mine have been out of use for months despite persistent complaints from the security guards to Newmont Ghana officers at the site. Whilst in the bush, he went missing and has since not been found.”
“As we speak, the security personnel of Protea Coin Ghana together with the Ghana Police Service and some community members have been searching frantically, but the whereabout of the poor worker is still not known,“ portions of a statement signed by the Union’s Secretary said.
According to the statement, on the same day the security official went missing, “two other security guards deployed at the Company’s Apensu dewatering pond were also abducted around 12 midnight by six fully armed men with four guns and two machetes.”
“They took them hostage, manhandled and molested them and subsequently abandoned them somewhere in the bush. They were later found with their hands tied at their backs.”
The union attributed these developments to state governing structures’ neglect and inaction.
It thus urged the stakeholders in the mining industry led by Government to institute a committee to probe the recent developments.
Below is the statement from the Ghana Mineworkers Union
July 29, 2022
For Immediate Release
PAY URGENT ATTENTION TO SECURITY SITUATION IN THE MINING INDUSTRY OR THE GMWU AND ITS MEMBERS SHALL WITHDRAW THEIR SERVICES
GHANA MINEWORKERS’ UNION of the Trades Union Congress continue to worry over the neglect, inaction and the seeming powerlessness of the state governing structures and regulators over the concerns the Union has and continue to raise on the current business models of mining companies currently operating in the industry in the form of the wanton outsourcing of key functional areas to third parties, proliferation of all kinds of non-standard forms of employment, emergence of labour brokerage leading to disguised employment relationships to mention but a few.
These profiteering tendencies by mining multinationals in the industry have, undoubtedly had direct negative consequences on workers and other stakeholders in the value chain of mining in Ghana. A breaking case in point is the fate of a security officer employed by a third-party contractor named Protea Coin Ghana, who was deployed at the site real gate, an exit point to ‘mine take area’ in Newmont Ahafo Mine on July 27, 2022. At around 18:30pm, he asked permission from his supervisors to attend to nature’s call in a nearby bush because the toilet facility at his post and many of the security posts around Newmont Ahafo Mine have been out of use for months despite persistent complains from the security guards to Newmont Ghana officers at the site. Whilst in the bush, he went missing and has since not been found.
As we speak, the security personnel of Protea Coin Ghana together with the Ghana Police Service and some community members have been searching frantically, but the whereabout of the poor worker is still not known. The issue that arises is that the poor security man worked for Protea Coin Ghana but deliver his employment obligations on the Newmont Ahafo concession so whose duty was it to provide and keep decent toilet facilities for the security guard noting that in the mining regulations, Newmont Ghana is under obligation to provide toilet for workers?
In a related development, on the same day our colleague went missing, two other security guards deployed at the Company’s Apensu dewatering pond were also abducted around 12 midnight by six fully armed men with four guns and two machetes, took them hostage, manhandled and molested them and subsequently abandoned them somewhere in the bush. They were later found with their hands tied at their backs.
Similarly, barely a year ago, a number of our valued members in Protea Coin witnessed very horrendous incidents viz; Robert Coffie and Joshua Oppong were attacked and shot which led to Joshua losing one eye whilst Robert sustained multiple injuries on the Newmont Ahafo site. Again, on the same Newmont Ahafo site, Daniel Owusu Sekyere and Mathew Nsoah both members of the Union, were also attacked with guns and cutlasses which led to Daniel sustaining multiple fractures on one leg whilst Mathew sustained several cutlass wounds on the head. Sadly, Daniel for now has metals planted in his leg. Jacob Ayiko was also attacked by Galamseyers during which he sustained multiple fractures on his right wrist and till date, he has metals planted in his wrist.
Whilst the Union have in the past highlighted in its National Executive Council resolutions about the heightened insecurity and the urgent need for a more concerted action, these recent developments and the most recent ones highlighted above, brings into sharp focus yet again, the heightened insecurity situation in the mining industry in general and Newmont Ahafo in particular and the need for urgent action.
Whereas the Local Union officers of the Ghana Mineworkers’ Union are fully on the ground assisting and supporting the search team in any way possible to ensure that our cherished member is not only found but found alive, we want to appeal to our members who are undoubtedly traumatized by these unfortunate developments to keep calm, continue to focus on their safety and assist in any way possible to establish the whereabouts of our missing colleague. To the family of our missing colleague, we sympathize deeply with their plight and urge them to keep calm and strong as the search efforts continue to ensure we are able to establish his whereabouts.
Meanwhile, considering that our missing colleague has been gone for close to 48 hours now without any concrete information so far, we want to strongly urge Government to as a matter of urgency deploy the needed logistics to assist in the efforts of the team currently searching for our colleague’s whereabouts. We also expect that a thorough investigation led by the Ghana Police who are currently on the ground would be conducted to establish the circumstances under which the incident occurred, and immediate steps taken to forestall its recurrence.
We also urge the stakeholders in the mining industry led by Government to institute a committee to probe the happenings in the mining industry particularly the increasing fragmentation of production/services and the ramification on decent employment. Lastly, we also call on Government through the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations to cause the full enforcement of Part 16 (Labour Inspection) of the Labour Act 2003 (Act 651) so that the actors within the industrial relations space can realize the full benefit of labour inspection in this country to forestall any future occurrence and also safeguard and protect the collective interest of all the actors.