The Ghana Mineworkers Union, as part of its 75th Anniversary, has awarded former President Jerry John Rawlings for his contribution to the development of the mining sector.
Other awardees are Ghana’s first President Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, a former member of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), Ebo Tawiah, (deceased) and a former General Secretary of the Ghana Mineworkers Union, Dominic Foevie.
They were presented with a plaque for playing a significant role in shaping the mining sector.
The Union’s General Secretary, Prince William Ankrah, said President Nkrumah’s vision and foresight led to the building of the Gold Refinery at Tarkwa.
Although there was no written policy to guide the exploitation of the mineral resources, Dr. Nkrumah remained steadfast and resolved to sustain the mining industry.
“Dr. Nkrumah nationalized the sector to protect workers’ right to employment, a catalyst for industrialization,” he added.
For President Rawlings, the General Secretary said from 1981 to 2000, he initiated and implemented aggressive policies to stimulate investment into the minerals economy.
The mining sector, under his leadership, received priority attention unrivalled by any under the Economic Recovery Program in 1983, Mr. Ankrah said.
He implemented specific sector policy reforms and promulgated a series of laws culminating in the creation of an effective regulatory framework that boosted foreign investments.
Mr. Ankrah said Mr. Tawiah was recognised for securing a tax-free paid overtime for the Union and members of three other unions at a time when their salaries were meagre.
“Mr. Tawiah ensured that all distressed state institutions earmarked for privatization were done in line with laid down policies,” he added.
Mr Domnic Foevie, for his part played a pioneering role in shaping the mining industry by building a vibrant labour movement as the former Chairman of the Trades Union Congress’ Executive Board.
Former President Rawlings, on behalf of the awardees, expressed satisfaction for recognising their role in revitalising the sector for national development.
He urged the public to protect and preserve the environment from destruction through illegal mining, which had affect the country’s ecosystem.
He admonished the authorities, especially the Environmental Protection Agency, to exhibit high sense of responsibility by enforcing the laws for effective environmental management.
Mr Bright Wereko-Brobby, the Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, commended the Union for recognizing the sterling role played by the renowned statesmen in the mining space.
He said the increased investment in the sector, over the years, had led to sharp growth in mining output and employment.
“The Ministry appreciates the role of Unions in ensuring national cohesion through management of labour issues at the enterprise, regional and national levels”.
He pledged the Ministry’s commitment to engaging stakeholders to resolve challenges the Union faced.
The Secretary-General, Trades Union Congress, Anthony Yaw Baah, commended the tireless efforts of the Union for fighting and protecting the rights and welfare of members and improving their health and safety conditions.
He called for more sustained collaboration to ensure industrial harmony for mutual understanding to attract international investors.
The Chief Executive of Ghana Chamber of Mines, Sulemana Koney, urged the Union to collaborate with stakeholders to create the needed opportunities for professionals to ensure sustained development.