The Ghana Mineworkers’ Union (GMWU) of the Trades Union Congress says it is deeply concerned by the novel coronavirus pandemic and its potential consequences on the health and safety of its members.
GMWU said the operational and business implications of the disruption caused by the pandemic for mining companies and the industry at large is also a major source of concern.
“The Union notes the bold and concrete steps taken by the Government of Ghana so far in response to the fight against the spread of the novel coronavirus and wish to commend the Government especially the President for the show of leadership.
“The Union also commends all employers, our social partners, within the mining industry for proactively developing response measures targeted at preventing the spread of the virus which we now know is present on our soil,” General Secretary of the Union, Abdul-Moomin Gbana, said in a press release issued on Thursday.
While commending Government and other social partners for the concrete actions taken so far, the Union said these are not normal times and hence it takes serious note of all the positive cases recorded so far.
It called on its members to scale-up the already known health and safety culture in the mining industry by adhering strictly with the health and safety protocols issued by the Ministry of Health.
It also wants its members to adhere to other complementary protocols instituted by their respective employers at the enterprise level to forestall the spread of the virus.
“In difficult times such as what the world is currently grappling with, the Union is urging all employers in the industry to continuously leverage their longstanding experience as health and safety champions to prevent the spread of Covid-19 from wreaking havoc on Ghana’s mining industry, which undoubtedly is a major foreign exchange earner for our country.
‘The Union also calls on all its social partners to guard against any panic decision(s) or measures that could throw the mining sector out of gear in this era of Covid-19. Instead, we encourage our social partners to consult broadly with all stakeholders’ particularly in decisions that could potentially have far-reaching consequences on the industry,” the Union said in the release.
The GMWU urged employers to promote remote work particularly for vulnerable workers like lactating mothers and pregnant women, and also endeavour to create official channels or platforms for regular updates about the Covid-19 pandemic especially in this era of social media and fake news.
“Given that this pandemic has a global character, the Union also wants to use this opportunity to caution our members and by extension Ghanaians to show compassion during this period and refrain from any temptation to demonize foreign nationals.
“The Union remains steadfast in this fight and look forward to working closely with our partners to navigate this storm and prevent the spread of Covid-19,” the Union assured.