A section of the workers during the demonstration
A section of the workers during the demonstration
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Aug 1, 2017

More than 400 workers of the Owere Mines in the Ashanti region, yesterday picketed at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources in Accra over illegal mining (galamsey) in the company’s concession and non-payment of their 19 months salaries.

Wearing red bands and carrying placards, the workers said their outstanding salaries had made life unbearable for them while galamsey activities had driven away investors.

They accused the management of the company for conniving with illegal miners, and urged Minister to investigate the matter.

In a six-point petition presented to the sector minister, Mr. John Peter Amewu, the workers threatened that “any further delay  on the part of the ministry  to resolve our concerns on two weeks  would not only worsened the plight of the workers  but also incur the wrath of workers.”

According to the petition signed by Owere Branch Union of Ghana Mines Workers’ Union,Mr. Francis Owusu, in addition to the unpaid salaries, Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) and tier-two contributions had not been paid.

Mr. Peter Amewu receiving the petition
Mr. Peter Amewu receiving the petition

It said a worker lost his spouse and an unborn baby due to his inability to afford medical bills while other children of this unnamed worker had also become school drop-out as a result of unpaid school fees.

It alleged that the owners of the concession of 125 kilometers square into galamsey site since November 2016, posing serious repercussion on the lives of 17 communities whose only source of drinking water had been polluted.

It said the   illegal miners were using dynamite to blast within 100 metres radius of residence which the mining regulations frowned and cited the recent incidence where a galamsey pit collapsed and killed four illegal miners  at Patrena within the mining concession  as a confirmation of the issue.

The petition also disclosed that the whole mining site was without electricity as a result of indebtedness to Volta River Authority, a situation which had compromised the security of workers.

It appealed to the Minister to compel them to pay all their outstanding salaries and other entitlements due them or revoke the mining licenses of the company for other investors to revive it.

Mr. Amewu, addressing the workers after the presentation of the petition, promised to ensure their concerns was addressed as soon as practicable adding that he would visit the company to ascertain issues raised.

It would be recalled that the workers, in April petitioned the Minister over their unpaid salaries and illegal mining which they claimed was being perpetrated by the managing director with the help of the military.

By Nii Adotey/adrdaily.com

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