The Amasaman High Court has on Thursday adjourned the case involving 299 Asanko Gold Ghana employees who were sacked without proper compensation.

It was after the counsel of the plaintiff – Asanko Gold Ghana Limited – claimed it had not received any affidavits in opposition to their motion from Ghana Mine Workers Union.

So, the court adjourned the case to be heard on June 1, to afford them opportunity to be served.

The two – Asanko Gold Ghana Limited and The Ghana Mine Workers Union (GMWU) –   are in court over non-adherence to the collective bargaining agreement relating to payment of severance to the laid-off staff who are members of the Ghana Mine Workers Union.

According to the mine workers, the condition of service agreed have not been adhered to by the Asanko Gold, especially, the compensation for severance, for its members.

The Lay-Off
These two hundred and ninety-nine (299) mine workers have been engaged as permanent workers for more than two years in Asanko Gold Ghana Limited.

But unfortunately, early this year, the workers’ claim that Asanko Gold Ghana Mine terminated their employment as permanent workers and made contract staff.

This saw their salaries reduced by 40 percent worsening their conditions of service and unfortunately didn’t come with agreed severance package in the collective bargaining agreement.

The MoU
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) dated February 10, 2022, was signed by the Ghana Mine Workers Union and Asanko Gold Ghana Limited to finalize payments of redundancy compensations to workers affected after Asanko Gold Ghana Limited announced its decision to embark on a redundancy exercise on February 2022.

Under the MOU signed by both parties, paragraph one and ten require that:

1.       “a total of 299 permanent employees will be severed effective 31st March 2022 and paid appropriate redundancy packages in line with their applicable Collective Agreements, inclusive of the one (1) month notice required”.

2.       “payment of appropriate compensation due all affected employees shall be paid on or before 31st March 2022”.

The Mine Workers Union says the interlocutory injunction was necessary because, despite repeated calls for Asanko Gold Ghana Limited to strictly comply with the relevant provisions of the collective agreement and MoU, the mining company has neglected and bent on violating the agreement without recourse.

In court
The GMWU are worried that upon several meetings with management of Asanko Gold Ghana Limited, they still did not see any changes on the need for the mining company to pay the appropriate severance as agreed and hence their decision to resort to court action.

Counsel for the GMWU further disclosed that Asanko Gold Ghana Limited wanted the case strike out because, according to them, the case was ‘premature’.

But the Ghana Mine Workers Union filed an affidavit objecting to that motion.

That was meant to be argued in court on Thursday, but Counsel for Asanko Gold Ghana Limited told the court that the court bailiff is yet to served them with the affidavit and so pleaded for an adjournment.

The presiding judge therefore obliged and adjourned the case to June 1, 2022.