The Ghana Mineworkers’ Union (GMWU) of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Ghana, says if government maintains its decision to withdraw the military from the major mining areas, the Union may withdraw labour for fear of attacks and reprisals from illegal miners on its members, the Deputy General Secretary of GMWU Eric Gyima has warned.
He said he views with grave concern government’s abrupt and unilateral decision to withdraw the military and other state security personnel from mining concessions of the major mining companies which employ thousands of GMWU’s members.
The industry, as the government is no doubt aware, is heavily challenged with the falling price of gold and other metals on the international market coupled with other internal hindrances which culminate in the threat of massive job-cuts, Mr. Gyima added.
In this regard, the least that the GMWU expected government to do was not to add to the already burdened industry and aggravate an already turbulent development in the mining sector.
“In all sincerity, we believe that the decision is untimely, unwelcome and eventually will be counter-productive,” he said.
The Union, Mr. Gyima said, in its humble and considered opinion would like to on behalf of the over 20,000 members who are all employees of this sub-sector urge government to reconsider this policy decision.
“We are appealing for the government to allow the status-quo to remain until such time that the Chinese and other foreign-led illegal miners menace is eliminated or brought under control, because our intelligence indicates that the perpetrators are waiting around to strike again.
“The members of the union believe that government will grant this request from the members of the Ghana Mineworkers’ Union. This, we believe, will safeguard the safety of mineworkers who continue striving to work diligently to contribute their quota to the nation’s development,” he said.
The Military High Command some few days ago wrote to the mining firms announcing its plan to withdraw officers from the concessions.
The officers were stationed at the concessions to fight illegal mining activities, but the announcement of an imminent withdrawal provoked fear and panic within the mining industry.
The Ghana Chamber of Mines has begun talks with the Military High Command over the proposed withdrawal of military personnel from mining concessions.
Director of Public Relations of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Ahmed Nantogmah, said they will begin talks with the military to rescind its decision.He hoped the talks will yield fruits.
The Director of Public Relations of the Ghana Armed Forces, Colonel Mbawine Atintande, in a reaction said no mining company in Ghana has the right to go to any commanding military official to request for security personnel to protect its concessions.
He said every company has to pass through the appropriate channel, which is the National Security Secretariat to put in that request.
Source: Ekow Essabrah- Mensah/B&FT
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