The Ghana Mineworkers Union (GMWU) has launched its 75th Anniversary in Accra with a call on members to work hard to improve productivity.
The General Secretary of the Union, Prince William Ankrah, said it represented about 12,000 members from 43 companies; 11 Operating Mines and 32 Service companies.
He said the decline in membership was due to employers’ adoption of precarious employment contract arrangements where permanent workers were declared redundant only to be re-engaged as short-term fixed contract or causal workers by the same employers.
Mr. Ankrah said the Union believed in true and honest engagement with its partners, and had chosen the path of engagement through due compliance to the regulations governing industrial relations practices in the country, culminating in the peaceful industrial relations atmosphere in the mining industry.
Speaking on the Union’s achievements, he said 2004 it established the Bissah/McCarthy Education Endowment Fund to grant bursaries to wards of Union members to support them to pursue secondary education.
He said the bursary was the Union’s modest contribution towards the country’s human capital development, adding that since its inception, the Fund had disbursed about GH¢225, 000.00 bursaries to about 500 senior high school students.
“In our pursuit of a fair and equitable compensation for workers in the mining industry, the Union in 2011 initiated the ‘Agenda 500’ objective targeted at obtaining at least US$500.00 minimum salary for mineworkers by the year 2012.
“Despite the stalemates and positional bargaining on the part of the companies against this initiative, the Union drawing from the unified strength of our cherished members, we achieved about 90 per cent of this objective by 2013”.
He said the Union through its investment initiatives, had provided over 180 direct employment opportunities to Ghanaians in the banking and insurance sectors of the economy.
Mr. Ankrah said the Unique Insurance Company, which was a subsidiary of the Labour Enterprise Trust, was posting very impressive results, stressing that the net worth had grown from a negative GH¢2,143,513 in December 2012 to GH¢16,672,685 as at end of December 2017.
He said the Golden Pride Savings and Loans, wholly owned by the Union, commenced operations in May 2013 in Obuasi and now employed 140 staff with seven branches in the country.
“As part of our efforts to promote work and family life balance, the GMWU established the Mineworkers Wives Association in March 2012 to help address some of the socio-economic challenges that affect the families of mineworkers,” he said.
The Secretary General of Trades Union Congress, Ghana, Dr. Anthony Yaw Baah, commended the Union for the achievement, calling on the members to work hard to improve on the gains made.
He said through the efforts of the Union leaders and other stakeholders, it had witnessed improvement in occupational health and safety standards as well as incomes of miners.
The National Chairman of Ghana Mineworkers’ Union, Mensah Kwarko Gyarkari, expressed appreciation to all stakeholders for making it possible for the Union to surmount the challenge in the mining sector where employers were quick to want to downsize their workforce to boost their profit margins.