Workers start go-slow at Gold Fields mine in Ghana

ACCRA, Sept 15 (Reuters) – Workers at South African miner Gold Fields’ Tarkwa gold mine in Ghana have begun a go-slow action in a pay dispute and have threatened a full strike, company and union officials said on Tuesday. Tarkwa, the biggest gold mine in Ghana, produced almost 660,000 ounces of the precious metal in 2008, according to Chamber of Mines data. Ghana is the continent’s number two gold producer after South Africa.

“The workers here are on go-slow action. This means they are working but not actually working — for example, if they have to go and pick something, it will take them double or three times the (usual) amount to get that job done,” said Anthony Aubynn, corporate affairs director for Gold Fields’ Ghanaian operations.

Aubynn declined to quantify how much production had been lost as a result of the go-slow, which began early on Tuesday.

Talks about pay between the company and workers’ representatives were ongoing, Aubynn said.

Those negotiations were not proving fruitful, said Prince Ankrah, general secretary of the General Mineworkers’ Union, which represents Ghanaian miners.

“This, I’m afraid, could degenerate into full strike action,” Ankrah said.

Tarkwa employs 1,805 permanent workers and almost 3,000 contractors, according to the Gold Fields website www.goldfields.co.za/.

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Reporting by Kwasi Kpodo; Writing by Daniel Magnowski; Editing by Anthony Barker


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