The Ghana Mineworkers Union (GMU) of the Trades Union Cong ress (TUC) on Friday threatened to mobilize workers of AngloGold Ashanti, a join t South African-Ghanaian company, to stage a week-long strike action in protest a g ainst what they called an unfair Employee Share Ownership Plan (ESOP).
A statement signed by Prince William Ankrah, General Secretary of GMU, said the offer of 20 shares per Ghanaian worker compared with 30 shares per AngloGold wor k er in South Africa was “immoral” and “discriminatory”.
The statement said GMU had therefore requested that either the share offer to Gh anaian workers was raised to 30 per worker or the proposed 20 shares per worker s hould be backdated to November 2006, when the company was sold to AngloGold, to c ompensate workers who had kept faith with the company since the sale.
However, it said, “management has remained adamant to our proposal”. “It is morally wrong for AngloGold Ashanti to discriminate in its employee relat ions and we insist that AngloGold Ashanti either backdates the offer or puts on t he table the 30 share per employee enjoyed by the South African Mineworkers or f a ce a work stoppage for one week.”
The statement said the action was also in protest at the refusal of the Chief Ex ecutive Officer of AngloGold Ashanti, Mr Mark Cutifini, to meet with the leaders h ip of the GMU over the matter, even though he is in Ghana.
The union called on the government to intervene and explore ways through which t he state and local employees of the various mines would benefit from the huge ga i ns made by trans-national mining companies.
The union recommended the Peruvian example, where the government had enacted a l aw to enjoin the mining companies to set aside a specific percentage of their pr o fits for local mineworkers.