Extractive Industry Workers Union Ghana (EIWUG) has expressed fret over ill-treatment meted out to Senior Staff Employees of Newmont Ghana by Ghana Mine Workers Union (GMWU) for their decision to exit the union.
They have accused GMWU for mistreating Newmont Ghana workers following their resignation from the union to join EIWUG by passing a resolution and endorsing individual forms due to the poor service offered by GMWU.
Executive Director of EIWUG Mr. Victor Asare Gyapong who was addressing the media on Thursday March 24 maintained that the action by GMWU violates the fundamental human rights (freedom of association) of the Newmont Ghana workers as enshrined in Ghana’s Constitution and the International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions.
He has indicated that about 500 junior staff employees in Akyem and Ahafo have resigned from GMWU for the past 8 months yet they are still been held as members of GMWU whilst dues are deducted from their salary every month against their will.
Mr. Asare Gyapong has thus condemned the leadership of GMWU for putting the Newmont Ghana workers in servitude.
He has described the manner at which GMWU is abusing the right and freedom of Newmont Ghana staff as cruel, despicable and revolting and has urged the trade union fraternity including All Global Union and ILO to call GMWU to order.
Below is the full statement issued by EIWUG
PRESS CONFERENCE HELD BY EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRY WORKERS UNION GHANA (EIWUG)
ON THURSDAY 24TH MARCH, 2022 AT ELLKING HOTEL – ACCRA
Abuse of the rights of the senior staff employees of Newmont Ghana by GMWU of TUC
Ladies and gentlemen of the press good morning and thank you for coming.
We are Extractive Industry Workers Union Ghana (EIWUG) duly registered with the registrar general and certified as a trade union by the Chief Labor Officer. We mobilize and organize workers in the extractive industry and it’s allied Service Companies in Ghana.
EIWUG…the union of Choice.
In our young journey as a union we have been battered by an organization that should have had the responsibility to protect rights of workers and do everything to ensure the realization of the constitutional provision on freedom of association.
To the contrary, the GMWU of TUC has done everything to perpetuate a clear violation of the rights of the senior staff employees of Newmont Ghana.
The following are the litany of issues that illustrate the abuse:
- In 2019 some employees of Newmont Ghana who were members of GMWU resigned to join the EIWUG by passing a resolution and endorsing individual forms due to the poor service that GMWU was offering at the time.
- Notice was served to Newmont, GMWU and the Chief Labour Officer in line with the labour act and in fulfilment of the internal union constitution.
- The GMWU attempted to hold many meetings with the workers to convince them to return to GMWU and even involved the Secretary General of TUC but to no avail.
- The GMWU clandestinely printed a new internal constitution to change the notice period of resignation from three months to six months and also changed some of the conditions.
- This forged internal constitution was quickly sent to the Chief Labour Officer by which time our resignation notice had reached the CLO.
- They followed this covert act with a letter to Newmont indicating that we had to serve six months bondage before we could leave their union to which we vehemently wrote to oppose and insisted that we were to satisfy only three months’ notice period.
- Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, please note that the GMWU also undertook many measures including blackmail and instigated the arrest of the leadership of EIWUG by the police, precisely the Anti Robbery and Fraud Unit at the National Police Headquarters.
- Newmont, uncertain of which party to satisfy, wrote to the Labour Commission to help determine whether or not employees were to serve three or six months before exiting the GMWU.
- The GMWU rejected the facilitation process set up by the Labour Commission and called for straight arbitration by the commission.
- Whilst going through the Labour Commission process the six months elapsed and the same was indicated to Newmont by EIWUG.
- EIWUG also applied to the Chief Labour Officer for the Collective Bargaining Certificate on behalf of the employees who resigned to join them in line with the Labour Act.
- The EIWUG and GMWU were invited into meetings by the CLO as part of the process of determining which of the two unions should hold the CBC on behalf of the senior staff employees.
- The GMWU realizing that their certificate will be revoked, immediately filed a lawsuit with suit No. IL0034/2021 against EIWUG, some of its members and the CLO as defendants, asking the court to stop the CLO from issuing out a CBC to EIWUG and also for a declaration that the members of the interested party did not successfully exit the applicants union.
- The suit was dismissed by the High Court (Labour Court I) for want of reasonable cause of action and for being plagued with vexations and abusing the court’s process.
- The ruling paved the way for the CLO to continue with the verification exercise which led to a revocation of the CBC of the GMWU and issuing of a new CBC to EIWUG as a union with the majority members.
- Unsatisfied with the outcome of the process, the GMWU petitioned the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations who directed a second verification exercise to be conducted.
- The second verification report which was submitted by the CLO through the Chief Director to the Minister, also affirmed the first decision.
- Again, the GMWU issued another writ with suit No. IL/0098/2021 for the High Court to review the decision of the CLO and further filed an injunction to prevent EIWUG from using the CBC.
- We would not like to bore you with the gymnastics that the GMWU adopted using the legal procedures from filing to appeal, arrest of judgment, amongst others which denied EIWUG from negotiating for employees in 2021.
- The High Court on Thursday 17th March, 2022 again delivered its ruling and dismissed the writ in its entirety.
- We have seen on social media platforms another motion to the Court of Appeal seeking to appeal the High Court decision and a further application for stay of execution dated Friday 18th March, 2022.
- We would like to also bring to your attention that about 500 junior staff employees in Akyem and Ahafo have resigned for the last eight months but are still being held as members of the GMWU and dues deducted from their pay every month against their will.
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, are these noble employees in servitude?
Should they be punished for freely joining an association and deciding to exit?
Is it not mind boggling that a union which is supposed to prevent human rights abuse is rather preventing people from enjoying a fundamental human rights (freedom of association) enshrined in the 1992 Constitution of Ghana and the ILO conventions?
The irony is that the GMWU exists to operate as a union based on the fundamental human right of freedom of association granted by the 1992 Constitution, yet they are depriving others from exercising the same.
Should exit clauses (of six to one year) in the union’s constitution be used as a tool to prevent union members from enjoying their fundamental human rights of freedom association?
The question which again beg for answer is, what is the motivation for all these deliberate impediments by GMWU to prevent EIWUG from operating and the intimidation to its leadership including the use of the police.
- A critical look through the issues point us to greed and self-centeredness of the leadership of the GMWU.
- We know the GMWU General Secretary will kill to protect these juicy package including a basic pay of $10,000, free Accommodation, free electricity, free water, free postpaid phone use, a V8 land cruiser official vehicle, free fuel, fully sponsored trips to abroad, and earmarked ex-gratia of GHC 700,000.00 every four year term, plus other benefits.
- For these reasons they must do everything to enslave us to continue to line their pockets by using the same dues to frustrate workers who want to leave their union.
- They have become monsters, cheats and milkmen. They have left their core mandate to only care for themselves to the neglect of defending the rights of workers. All their decisions are focused on satisfying their selfishness but nothing else.
We are calling on the trade union fraternity including Industrial ALL Global Union and ILO to call GMWU to order if the TUC is complacent in this conduct.
We are also calling on all civil societies including human rights advocates to call GMWU in order to respect the constitutional rights of Newmont employees.
Thank you for your attention.
Long live EIWUG
Long live the union fraternity
Long live Ghana
May God bless us all
EIWUG…the union of choice.