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14.11.2005 General News

BGL Local Union regrets hostage taking

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Tarkwa (W/R), Nov. 14, GNA - The Executives of Bogoso Gold Limited (BGL) Local branch of Ghana Mines Workers' Union (GMWU) has apologized for the industrial action, which resulted in taking the Senior Staff of the Company hostage on Wednesday November 9, 2005 at the Mine Site, Bogoso.

They also condemned the action of the workers describing it as unfortunate.

These were contained in a release signed by Mr Bukari Osumanu, Secretary of the BGL branch of GMWU.

It said the Local Branch did not intend to harm or take hostage the Senior Staff and visitors but the mob action ended in holding them up in their offices overnight.

"On that day there were excesses in the action taken by the workers and indeed it became difficult to control them."

The release continued, the workers wanted Management to explain whether it would pay the five months' bonus or not and the General Manager said the Chief Executive Officer of the Company would arrive on Saturday November 12, 2005 and that he would meet the Leadership of the Local Union on Monday, November 14, 2005 to negotiate the bonus and discuss other outstanding issues.

This angered the workers and they resolved to stay at the site until the bonus issue was resolved. So they moved from the "chop chicken" - workers canteen, where a meeting was held and massed up in front of the Administration Block.

The release expressed regret for the action; saying the Leadership had engaged the Management in dialogue to address the grievances of the workers.

Meanwhile, the Leadership said it "is not happy about the Ghana News Agency (GNA) news item that was posted on the Internet saying that the workers accused BGL of paying bribes to the Police and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

"This accusation is unfounded. It is outside the focus of the grievances;" the release said.

The GNA had reported: - "Workers of Bogoso Gold Limited (BGL), a subsidiary of Golden Star Resources of Canada, last Wednesday kept vigil drumming and singing songs in which they accused the Management of the Company of paying huge bribes to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Police.

"One of the songs said: 'If you could pay huge bribes to EPA and the Police then pay us our bonus'.

"The workers held the Senior Staff hostage for almost 18 hours over a misunderstanding on the payment of end of year bonus.

"They locked up the Senior Staff in their offices from the evening of last Wednesday until the afternoon of Thursday. The workers, who wore red armbands, refused to allow the Senior Staff to leave their offices. "In addition, they deflated the tyres of the vehicles of the Senior Staff and blocked the entrance to the Administration Block forcing them to spend the night in their offices."

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