As the trend of contract or short-term employment rises in Ghana, the risk against workers also increases.
Although employers now find contract employment beneficial in reducing labour cost, the risks associated with the practice for workers remains a concern to the labour unions.
Saturday’s accident at the Newmont Ghana’s Ahafo mine in which six contract workers died and two others injured, brings into sharp focus the need for a revision of the framework for contract jobs to offer more benefits to such workers.
This is because the current system does not offer much benefit to contract workers and casual workers, exposing them to exploitation by some employers.
It is not clear what benefits are in store for the deceased and injured contract workers at Newmont, but whatever the benefits may be, it would be much lower than the benefits for permanent employees.
Worried about the situation, the Ghana Mine Workers’ Union has declared its determination to seek improved working conditions for contract employees in the mining sector.
The union maintains that the move should afford such workers all the benefits that are due full-time employees and secure their welfare.
According to the Deputy General Secretary of the union, Abdul Moomin Gbana, the union plans to engage the government to change the status quo.
Commenting on the accident which occurred when the roof of the tunnel of the mining company’s mill expansion project collapsed on the workers, he said the union would continue to oppose contract jobs which pose a threat to job security.
“As a union, we expect that we will be able to lift our game. The whole idea of general contract work and its associated conditions are things we need to sit up and look at as a tripartite that is, organised labour, employers and government.
“Because of the fast pace at which this employment trend is taking, if we’re not careful, these are the kinds of things we will be seeing,” he said.
By Nii Adotey/adrdaily.com