Ghana mineworkers threaten strike

The Ghana Mineworkers Union (GMU) of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) on Friday threatened to mobilize workers of AngloGold Ashanti, a join the South African-Ghanaian company, to stage a week-long strike action in protest against what they called an unfair Employee Share Ownership Plan (ESOP). A statement signed by Prince William Ankrah, General Secretary of GMU, said the offer of 20 shares per Ghanaian worker compared with 30 shares per AngloGold worker in South Africa was “immoral” and “discriminatory.” The statement said GMU had therefore requested that either the share offer to Ghanaian workers was raised to 30 per worker or the proposed 20 shares per worker should be backdated to November 2006, when the company was sold to AngloGold, to compensate workers who had kept faith with the company since the sale.

However, it said, “management has remained adamant to our proposal.” “It is morally wrong for AngloGold Ashanti to discriminate in its employee relations and we insist that AngloGold Ashanti either backdates the offer or puts on the table the 30 share per employee enjoyed by the South African Mineworkers or face a work stoppage for one week.”

The statement said the action was also in protest at the refusal of the Chief Executive Officer of AngloGold Ashanti, Mr Mark Cutifini, to meet with the leadership of the GMU over the matter, even though he is in Ghana.

The union called on the government to intervene and explore ways through which the state and local employees of the various mines would benefit from the huge gains made by trans-national mining companies.

The union recommended the Peruvian example, where the government had enacted a law to enjoin the mining companies to set aside a specific percentage of their profits for local mineworkers.

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