The Ghana Mineworkers’ Union has called on the Government to review the Labour Act 2003 (Act 651) to make it responsive to the changing needs of workers.
The Union is also calling on the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations to cause the full enforcement of Part 16 of the Labour Act 2003 (Act 651) which deals with labour inspection for actors within the industrial relations space to realize the full benefit of labour inspection in the country.
Mr Abdul-Moomin Gbana, General Secretary of the Union, made the call at a two-day National Executive Council Meeting in Accra.
Research conducted by the Union revealed that for every increase in non-standard forms of employment, there was a corresponding decrease in standard employment or permanent employment in the sector with relatively inferior employment conditions.
The study further revealed that for every standard worker who exited the company from 2016, the same role is replaced with a non-standard worker with inferior employment conditions, undermining the decent work pillars.
On the general outlook in the industry, the General Secretary said Gold since the beginning of 2020 had seen an unprecedented break-through in its price as it soared above US$ 2,000/oz and maintained relative stability since the beginning of 2021.
“We expect that mining companies will take strategic advantage of the price boom and to invest in modern infrastructure and expand existing ones, increase production, and intensify exploration activities.
“That, we believe, is a substantial step towards the creation of decent and sustainable jobs and a strategic approach to sustaining the industry, ” he said.
Mr Gbana said the currently, aspects of the mining jobs which were worked out at the least opportunity under “cut-throat contract” prices on the back of profit maximization must stop since the arrangement continued to threaten and undermine the decent work agenda and impoverish its members.
He commended the Government’s plan to introduce the Minerals Income Investment Fund Small Scale Mining Incubation Programme with an allocated budget of GHS354 million.
That, he said, would transform wholly-owned Ghanaian Small Scale Mining companies into mid-tier to large-scale companies from February 1st 2022 with up to 30 per cent of the allocation earmarked for provision of equity capital to selected small scale mining companies.
He said the Union viewed that the Mineral Development Fund like all the other earmarked funds under Act 947 ought to be exempted from the scope of the Earmarked Funds Capping and Realignment Act 2017 (Act 947) and stringent measures put in place to ensure that the appropriate share was timely disbursed for intended use.
“We call for the current 20 per cent share of annual mineral royalties allocated to the Mineral Development Fund to be increased to at least 50 per cent and must go directly into mining community development.”
Mr Joshua Ansah, the Deputy General Secretary, Trade Union Congress Ghana, supported the call for the review of the Labour Law and urged the members to support the leaders to champion their issues for peaceful coexistence.
He said the TUC was engaging with the government on the 2022 budget and was hopeful the feedback would be positive, calling for calm from the Union members.