The Labour Commission (NLC) has directed management of Anglo Gold Ashanti(Obuasi) to pay 4.71 million dollars as gratuity to 275 employees who were wrongly transferred from the company to the Mining and Building Contractors (MBC), another company, in December 2004.
The Commission sees as wrong, the decision of AngloGold Ashanti (AGA) to unilaterally transfer the employees to MBC without giving them the choice to accept or not and also making the payment of their gratuities contingent upon the termination of AGA’s contract with MBC.
According to the Commission, the transfer was not supported by any agreement between the Mineworkers Union to which the employees belonged and neither the company nor the MBC.
The decision followed separate petitions submitted to the Commission by Mr Appiah-Adjei Boateng, Mr Thomas Enimah, Mr Kwaku Nkrumah and Mr Robert Kadzine on one hand and Mr Thomas Obeng, Mr Yaw Amoah and Mr J. K Adams on the other hand against AGA, claiming payment of gratuities to themselves and their other colleagues following the involuntary transfer.
Giving the background of the petition at a meeting between the executive of the Obuasi branch of the Ghana Mineworkers Union (GMWU) and the affected workers, Mr Kwarko Mensah Gyakari, the chairman of the union said on assumption of office in 2004, they went into an agreement between AGA and MBC which talked about the transfer of the 275 workers of AGA to MBC but the workers themselves had no knowledge about the agreement.
He said the Union sat with both the management of AGA and MBC on the issue on several occasions but all ended in a deadlock so on 20th April, 2007 the Union and some of the workers petitioned the NLC for the payment of compensation by AGA.
In an 11-page judgment on the petition, the Commission asked the AGA to comply with the decision to pay the gratuities within 14-days from 20th August 27, 2008.
The commission said evidence before it proved that the workers who had worked for varying periods were AGA workers at that time and not MBC workers.
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