The Ghana Mine Workers Union has rejected reasons given by Goldfields Ghana Limited to embark on a retrenchment exercise.
Goldfields Ghana Limited told Citi Business News this week that it will lay off about 1,500 workers this month, as part of measures to change its business model, and make the company profitable due to the relatively short lifespan of the mine.
Reacting to the development, the Deputy General Secretary of the Ghana Mine Workers Union, Abdul Moomin Gbana, said the reasons given by Goldfields was inconsistent with the facts on the ground.
“Goldfields claims the life of the mine is 5 to 6 years, and based on the limited time, they cannot invest in mining fleet… It can actually run for a number of years and you don’t necessarily need to replace the fleets that Goldfields claims it wants to do. Records available to us indicates that, contrary to their claim of the life of the mine of 5-6 years, they have over 15 years of mine and so the question is, if your choice of contract mining is based on a limited life of mine and your own website projects 15 years, then, the question is, who are you misleading,” he said.
This will be the second time in three years the mining firm has embarked on a massive retrenchment exercise after a 2014 exercise that saw some 400 of its workforce laid off.
“We are changing our business model from an owner binder to the contract binder. Previously, Goldfields acquired and maintained the mining fleets. What we are doing right now in 2017, our mining fleet has changed, and will need to be replaced now looking at the types of mines that we have which is five to six years of active mining. If we were to pump that money into fleet replacement, we will not actually be able to recoup that money back because we are talking about a huge capital investment here,” the company said.
Sacked workers to be reemployed
Meanwhile, the Vice President and Head of Corporate Affairs of the company, David Johnson, has said that majority of the workers that will be laid off will be reemployed by the contractor who will take over mining activities of the mine.
“It’s important to add however that, we have done a similar exercise a year ago where over eighty percent of the retrenched workers were actually absorbed by the contractor, so it’s not the case that you leave your employees and that is the end of the story. We actually engaged the contractors to ensure that as many people as possible, are re-engaged by the contractors,” he said.