Gold Fields Workers Sign Redundancy Letters ‘under Duress’

Workers of Gold Fields Ghana Limited at Tarkwa in the Western Region have accused management of the mining firm of making some of their colleagues sign letters of redundancy under duress.

They also indicated that some of the workers were made to sign fixed term contract.

The exercise took place immediately after an Accra High Court ruled in favour of management in a case in which the mine workers were seeking to stop the company from an impending layoff.

The company claims it is currently embarking on an aggressive business option dubbed, “Contract Mining,” hence its decision to lay off over 2,000 workers.

The retrenchment is expected to affect most of its miners at the Tarkwa mine.

However, the workers claimed that the reasons for the impending lay off is untenable as they call on the government to intervene.

The Ghana Mine Workers’ Union of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) rejected management’s position and went to court to stop Goldfields from going ahead with the exercise until the determination of a suit it filed challenging the retrenchment.

An Accra High Court, however, dismissed an interlocutory application by the Ghana Mine Workers Union to stop the redundancy exercise by the mining giant.

In its ruling last Friday, the Labor Division of the court, presided over by Mrs. Justice Laurenda Owusu, held that the mining company stands to suffer greater hardship if the application was granted.

Meanwhile, the General Secretary of the Ghana Mine Workers Union, Prince William Ankrah and other executives of the union have confirmed to the media that they have appealed the ruling. The appeal would be heard on March 14, 2018.

According to Mr. Ankrah, the judge overlooked some essential procedural issues that they raised.

However, even before the Appeals court hear the case, the workers are claiming that management of Gold Fields have compelled some of them to sign redundancy letters under duress.

Speaking to journalists at a brief workers durbar at Tarkwa on Saturday, some of the aggrieved workers claimed that some military men were brought in by the management, who forced them to sign the letter.

The union is warning of a looming nationwide strike by mine workers if government does not intervene immediately.

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