06.10.2004 Business & Finance

Mining companies cannot throw casual workers out

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Obuasi, Oct 6, GNA - The Minister of Manpower Development and Employment, Mr Yaw Barimah, has stated that with the coming into force of the new Labour Act, no mining company can sever relations with its casual workers under the pretext of redundancy.

Mr Barimah, who was addressing a cross-section of employees of the mining industry at Obuasi during the launching of the Ghana Mineworkers Union's Education Endowment Fund, said the protection of the rights of casual and temporary workers from discrimination in employment and occupation as enshrined in the new Labour Act should be a heart warming news to the workers' unions.

"With the coming into force of Act 651, no employer in the mining industry can, with impunity, sever relations with his/her casual workers under the pretext of redundancy", he said.

The Minister, however, said the Act posed challenging opportunities for workers and employers to chart new course towards higher productivity and socio-economic development.

It also provided for the protection of the interests of the vulnerable classes of workers within the economy, including casual and temporary workers and persons with disabilities.

Mr Barimah added that the new law posed some challenges to the social partners. "It is an important piece of social legislation which requires willingness to accept and embrace change by the social partners".

He announced that his Ministry had embarked on a process of educating the social partners and their constituents nationwide on the provisions of the law.

"This is a process we must all support. In this connection, I want to assure you that no section of the working population will be left out, subject of course, to the availability of funds", the Minister told the workers.

Mr. Barimah said his Ministry also envisaged organising a workshop to educate foreign investors on the provisions of the law, cultural environment and employer-employee relationship.

He said it was the avowed goal of the government to see that all workers in the country obtained decent and productive work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity.

The Minister gave the assurance that every process would be pursued to achieve this goal but asked workers to also support the government by "creating an atmosphere for productive work".

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