The Ghana Mineworkers’ Union (GMWU) has called for broader and consistent consultation of stakeholders in the country’s mining sector, saying there are genuine concerns regarding policy formulation and implementation.
It said policies regarding expatriate recruitment, skills shortage and bridging the wide income inequalities existing in the mining industry, needed to be addressed by all players including the Chamber of Mines and the Minerals Commission.
These are contained in the GMWU’s resolution it adopted at its 10th Quadrennial Delegates Conference held in Sunyani, in the Brong Ahafo Region and copied to the Ghana News Agency on Tuesday in Accra on Tuesday.
“…there is a genuine skills shortage and skills expatriation in the mining industry of Ghana, because not many job seekers have the requisite skills required by mine employers, while the wide income inequalities, has been promoting skills flight to other mining economies particular within the sub-region.”
It called on government to enforce the law that promotes succession training plan, capacity building and skills transfer to local employees.
The Resolution added that stakeholder’s engagement would be appropriate to foster commitment and ownership in the process of establishing a fund of which two per cent out of five per cent royalty should be used directly for infrastructural development in mining communities.
The GMWU expressed concerned that poor job evaluation and rankings had resulted in an inequitable pay structure and unfair working conditions in the mining industry.
The Union, therefore, promised to engage managements of mining companies to establish fair, equitable and transparent job evaluations systems that assigned employees to right salary scales as per the worth of the jobs they do.
The Resolution called for a new wage and salary policy through bipartite consultations to bridge the wide income inequalities that existed in the mining industry.
It said Ghana was losing out in mineral revenue due to the only 10 per cent government mandatory shares in minerals operations as stipulated in the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703), and asked that the 10 per cent shares in mining companies in Ghana should be increased to 25 per cent.
“In addition, there should be further opportunities to procure additional 10 per cent shares in order to have a voice in the management of mining business. The delegates also emphasized that mining companies and other extractive industries must be made to pay special windfall profit taxes when commodity prices reach unprecedented peak in any given period. “
They argued that revenue generated through such taxes could be used as a source of revenue to address the infrastructural deficit in the mining economies.
The GMWU recognizing that it was imperative to prevent any fatalities, injuries or ill health affecting workers or members of the public, or damage to the environment arising from mining operations, stressed the need for the government to speed up the ratification of ILO Convention 176, which deals with safety and health in mines to guarantee conformity to global occupational health and safety standards and also serve as a precursor to improving on the country’s national mining laws.
The resolution affirmed that workers had a need for, and a right to information, training and genuine consultation on and participation in the preparation and implementation of safety and health measures concerning the hazards and risks they face in the mining industry.
It indicated that mining economies and communities must benefit from the operations of mining proceeds through the provision of infrastructural development.
In that regard, the Resolution said, government should initiate a comprehensive infrastructural growth agenda to deal with the poor state of roads in mining areas such as Tarkwa, Bogoso, Damang, Huni Valley, Prestea, Bibiani and Obuasi.
It called on Parliament to expedite action on the local content policy into legislation to enable indigenous businesses to engage in economic activities in the extractive industries reserved mainly for foreign investors.
The Resolution tasked the Union leadership to ensure an End of Service Benefit scheme to be negotiated and restored in the Collective Agreement for its members.
The Union it said, would also negotiate for a Housing Trust Fund to be established by mining companies to support the development and acquisition of affordable homes by mineworkers.
It said GMWU would also ensure that all critical incomes such as terminal benefits paid to retirees, rent, leave travelling allowances, school fees are exempted from tax.
It said Corporate Social Responsibility should be regulated by Government using the Newmont Ghana Gold Limited model as a blueprint for the other mining companies. GNA