04 August 2017

Owere Mine Workers Not Paid For 19 Months | Social

The Owere Mines branch-Konongo of the Ghana Mine Workers Union (GMWU) of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) on Tuesday picketed at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources over 19 months unpaid salaries.

      The Union used the opportunity to present a petition to Mr John Peter Amewu, the sector Minister to compel the management of the Mine to pay all standing salaries and all other entitlements due the 65 workers or revoke the mining license of Owere Mines Limited. 

     Addressing the press, Mr Prince William Ankrah, the General Secretary of GMWU, said their members have not received their salaries and Social Security Insurance Trust (SSNIT) contributions for the past 19 months.

     Mr Ankrah said the Owere Mines had been ransacked by “galamseyers” and they have taken over the field, which hindered the operations of the miners in the area thereby rendering the members unproductive in the area.

     He noted that the members’ patience were running out and that any further delay on the part of the Ministry to resolve the concernswithin two weeks would incur the wrath of the workers.

     It had become necessary because according to Mr Ankrah, several meetings with authorities to resolve the situation proved futile.    

Among the issues the Union is seeking the Minister to resolve is the untold hardship brought to workers due to the situation, which had led a worker to lose his spouse and an unborn baby as a result of his inability to afford medical bills.

     The Union noted that the concession of 125 kilometre square, which was acquired for large scale mining in 2004 was diverted to a galamsey site by the owners of the concession since 2016.

     “These illegal mining activities ongoing here have not only driven potential investors away but also a serious challenge on lives of the residence and the entire 17 communities whose major source of drinking was the polluted Owere River,” the petition signed by Francis Owusu, Branch Union Secretary said.

     The Union also indicated that Owere illegal miners had defiled the President’s instruction through the sector Minister that all illegal mining activities should cease, adding that the illegal miners were using dynamite to blast. 

    The petition sent to the Minister noted that since June 9, this year, the entire mine site had been without electricity due to indebtedness to Volta River Authority, which affected the living conditions and security of workers.

     According to Mr Ankrah, the government has a 10 per cent share in Owere Mines and it had been operation for the past six years.

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