Goldfields Layoffs Will Affect Mining Sector Adversely
The Third World Network is predicting a drastic change in large scale mining in Ghana if Goldfields Ghana's new mining plan is allowed to sail through.
According to the Coordinator for the Third World Network, Dr. Yao Graham, this is also likely to impact the revenue from the mining sector going forward.
Goldfields Ghana Limited has announced that it is changing its operational strategy from owner mining to contract mining.
The situation has led to the laying off of some one thousand five hundred (1500) workers at its Tarkwa mine.
The decision has been heavily resisted by the Ghana Mine Workers' Union who have accused the company of acting in bad faith leading to a demonstration on Monday, March 12, 2018.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, Dr. Yao Graham explained that the issues must be carefully monitored.
“The quality of work, remuneration and security of the workers are being cut and it is important to also know that once this precedent is set, the nature of large scale mining sector work as we know it, is going to end forever because Anglogold Ashanti is also lining up to carry out something similar. All over the world what happens to casualisation is that the company protects its returns and the share of value that is created going to the labour force drops,” he argued.
The Third World Network has expressed opposition to the move by Goldfields saying it is in breach of a contract agreed on with the government of Ghana in 2016.
The agreement granted Goldfields some tax waivers which led to its saving about 20 million dollars in taxes yearly.
Per the agreement, the mining company was to keep jobs and possibly create new ones to boost economic growth.
Dr. Yao Graham believes the failure by Goldfields to comply with all these makes it necessary to revise the earlier agreement to protect the interest of the affected workers.
“So if you consider that the large scale gold mining sector does not create that many jobs and that Goldfields got the Ghana government to give it controversial tax concession with the promise that it will not only keep jobs but will create more jobs and two years later we are seeing this, I would describe it as a blow in the cheek,” he added.
Meanwhile speaking on the same program, the Vice President and Stakeholder Relations Manager for Goldfields, David Johnson maintained that the decision to change its operations to contract mining; is in the best interest of all stakeholders.
He however explains that the management will continue engaging the workers to address all outstanding issues.