The government must initiate strategies to reap more from mining given that the country’s mineral resources are finite, the Ghana Mineworkers’ Union (GMMU) of the Trades Union Congress (TUCG), has stated.
“Please let us all gathered here and the state of Ghana bear in mind that the mineral resources we are blessed with are finite and bound to be depleted one day whether we like it or not,” the National Chairman of the GMMU of TUCG, Kwarko Mensah Gyakari, has stated at the Union’s 13th delegate’s conference which opened at Obuasi on Tuesday.
The three-day conference was on the theme “Building Trade Union Resilience in a Rapidly Changing World of Work: Strategies for 2024 and Beyond”.
Opening the conference, Mr Gyakari expressed worry that the country was not getting much from mining even though mining had been done in Ghana for the past 120 years.
“What are we going to show to our future generation? What have we achieved with these resources we have mined in Ghana, especially in Obuasi for more than 120 years? What can we point out to show what Obuasi Mine has been able to achieve for the people in Obuasi Community? Can we boast of roads, schools, water, and electricity, just to mention a few?” he quizzed.
According to him, most of the glamorous buildings in the country, especially Obuasi, were built by miners who were employed and retired from their jobs.
The National Chairman said some dangerous trends had been introduced into mining by the industry players and which must be eradicated.
Describing them as destructive non-standard forms of employment, he said fixed-term contracts, outsourced workers, and temporary and casual workers had been introduced into mining by industry players.
“This type of employment arrangement, without any doubt, is the most destructive but that is the working arrangement most, if not all, employers are embarking upon. This type of employment does not train or resource the youth to take up positions in the future,” Mr Gyakari stated.
He said the ill associated with this form of employment was that there was a serious power imbalance in the employment to the extent that workers were left with little or no power to compete, as a result they became vulnerable to the exploitative interest of the employer.
The Secretary General of the TUCG, Dr Yaw Baah, in his solidarity message, said the COVID-19 pandemic had hurt the economy, the lives of workers, and their family members.
He said many mineworkers either lost their jobs or had their permanent contracts changed to fixed-term contracts thereby affecting the quality and security of their jobs and the security of their incomes.
“Despite all the challenges, the GMWU stood its ground and defended the rights and interests of its members and the union remains one of the strongest unions in the TUC Family, not only in terms of financial contribution to TUC but also in terms of the contribution of their leaders to decisions at the TUC, thereby continuing the tradition established by former leaders of GMWU,” Dr Baah stated.
BY TIMES REPORTER
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