Home News Military, Goldfields Workers Clash In Tarkwa

Military, Goldfields Workers Clash In Tarkwa

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 From Marlvin-James Dadzie, Tarkwa

Pandemonium broke out yesterday morning at the premises of Goldfields Ghana Limited in Tarkwa when workers of the company thronged the company’s premises in protest against the company’s decision to switch its operations from owner-mining to contract mining.

The situation turned murkier when military personnel guarding the entrance of the premises started firing gun shots in an attempt to disperse the angry workers.

The heavily-armed military men numbering about 30 pounced on workers who resisted the attempt to evacuate them and meted out beatings on them.

This action infuriated some of the workers who also started throwing stones at the military personnel, resulting in a chaotic situation as about four workers sustained various degrees of injury.

Soon, the Special Weaponry and Tactics (SWAT) unit of the police service was called in to control the situation.

At about 11:30 am, the situation had calmed down, dispersing the crowd from the entrance of the company’s premises.

Earlier this year, Goldfields Ghana Limited announced that it would switch its Tarkwa operations from owner- mining to contract mining.

According to the company, the move would affect the working status of over 2,000 of its workers.

The company said the switch in operations was necessary due to its aging fleet of machinery and the dwindled life-span of the Tarkwa mine.

But, workers of the company resisted this move, stating that they would be worse-off being contract workers.

They said they were ready to sacrifice some of  their benefits as permanent workers rather than changing their status as contract workers which could have dire consequences for them financially.

They maintained that putting over 2,000 workers on contract was not they right way to go, adding that Goldfields was still profitable.

Backed by the Ghana Mines Workers Union, the workers proceeded to court to put an injunction on the implementation of the company’s redundancy package.

But, an Accra High Court which sat on the matter dismissed the injunction, paving way for the company to carry-on with its intended redundancy undertaking.

Despite this, workers say they would remain on strike until government intervenes in the matter.

Seven workers of Gold Fields Ghana Limited were  arrested following  the  demonstration yesterday The demonstrating workers blocked all access to the Tarkwa mine, preventing other staff from going to work.

A joint police and military force had to fire tear gas to disperse the crowd.

The workers are protesting management’s decision to opt for contract mining, which is expected to result in huge retrenchments.

Residents of Tarkwa on January 19, took to some principal streets of the town to protest against the decision by Gold Fields Ghana to shift from ownership mining to contract mining.

The leadership of the demonstrators accused Gold Fields of shortchanging the country after receiving juicy packages from the previous administration in the spirit of expanding its operations to employ more of the teeming youth, as a result of the ban on small-scale illegal mining.




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