Ghana - Gold Fields Ghana Limited undermines collective bargaining over planned mass retrenchments

Despite having secured substantial fiscal incentives under the Development Agreement signed with the government of Ghana by Gold Fields Ghana Limited in 2016, at the end of 2017 the company announced its decision to move from owner mining to contract mining, and to retrench the majority of its workforce at its Tarkwa and Damang mines. Although in case of planned redundancies both the collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

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agreement signed by Gold Fields as well as the Labour Act of Ghana oblige the company to provide detailed information to trade unions as to the reasons and the exact number of all affected workers and to consult with trade unions on alternatives to redundancies and mitigation tactics, no meaningful consultations have taken place. Gold Fields failed to respond to arguments raised by the Trades Unions Congress (TUC) and Ghana Mining Workers Union (GMWU) that questioned the substance of economic reasons given by the company to justify the move to the contract mining model and mass retrenchments. Moreover, at the end of December 2017, Gold Fields unexpectedly raised the number of retrenched workers from previously communicated 1,500 to 2,150 out of the total workforce of 2,516. So far, Gold Fields has not consulted with the unions regarding any alternative or mitigation measures.

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