‘We cannot afford inaction’ – Goldfields defends layoffs

‘We cannot afford inaction’ – Goldfields defends layoffs
Source: Ghana| Myjoyonline.com| Oswald K Azumah| Twitter: Oswald K. Azumah @THESaintOswald
Date: 13-03-2018 Time: 01:03:42:pm
Head of stakeholder relations Goldfields Ghana Limited David Johnson

Goldfields Ghana Limited has defended its decision to lay off some of its workers, stating that other very important interests are at stake.

The company has come under pressure from the Mine Workers Union after they announced in December 2017 that they intend to lay off 1,850 of its staff.

The tensions escalated after an Accra High Court dismissed an application for injunction filed by the workers to halt the severance process.

The workers subsequently filed a notice of Appeal and also secured a stay of execution of the High Court's ruling.

On Monday, some demonstrating workers clashed with security personnel at the Tarkwa mines leading to scores being injured and at least seven of them being arrested.

Speaking to Joy News, Head of stakeholder relations of Goldfields Ghana Limited, David Johnson, said the layoffs are in the supreme interest of the company.

He suggested that the company could collapse if the status quo remains.

“…we need to make decisions that affect the sustainability of the Tarkwa operations…and we encourage all stakeholders to understand management's decision”, he said.

He added that several mines have collapsed because their management failed to take tough decisions.

“This might be a tough action…but we need to take it”, he reiterated.

Mr. Johnson explained that the workers will be rolled over to contractors that are partnering Goldfields.

He stated that per the agreement, they have with the contractors they [contractors] will be mandated to absorb the laid-off workers.

Meanwhile, the Workers Union has accused the management of Goldfields of coercing their members to sign severance letters under duress from the military.

Shooting down that argument, management of Goldfields maintained all those that signed the severance letters did so “happily”.

“…we have been engaging the workers on the process long before we presented them with the letters, so it couldn’t have been under duress”, Mr. Johnson said.