You are here: HomeBusiness2015 10 11Article 386979

Business News of Sunday, 11 October 2015

Source: GNA

GMWU debunks ex-workers’ claim on severance

Prince William Ankrah, General Secretary of GMWU Prince William Ankrah, General Secretary of GMWU

The Ghana Mine Workers Union (GMWU) has debunked rumours by some ex-workers of AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi Mine that they were supposed to be paid 100 per cent instead 25 per cent of the severance package given them.

The Union in a press statement at the weekend said 25 per cent of the annual basic salary for each completed year of service and prorated as enshrined in the collective bargaining agreement was what was negotiated for.

It said the ex-workers’ allegation, therefore, that the company owed them the remaining 75 per cent of their retrenchment package was false, adding that, the issue had generated a lot of interest among stakeholders and attracted the attention of the media.

Mr Prince William Ankrah, General Secretary of the GMWU signed the statement titled: “Latest rumour on payment of severance package to AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi Mine Ex-Employees: The facts in relation to Obuasi Business Re-engineering (BPR).”

Laying the facts, the statement said the package of the severance exercise was based on what had been stipulated in the Collective Agreements (CAs) for the branch, professional and managerial staff unions.

It said during the first quarter of 2014, the company made a business case to the GMWU for an urgent Business Process Re-engineering (BPR), critical for the survival of the mine.

As a result, the company undertook a number of internal restructuring exercises, rendering particular job positions redundant, with the view to arriving at an optimum workforce size.

Consequently, the statement said, at the Standing Negotiation Committee (SNC), a series of meetings were held on measures to be taken to avert or minimize the possibility of termination flowing from the aforementioned restructuring and agreed on measures to mitigate the adverse effects of the terminations, if same was unavoidable on the workers concerned.

Finally, the statement said, the package was mutually agreed upon and payment made accordingly.

In addition, it said all employees were paid an amount equivalent to one months’ salary in lieu of notice or were required to work during the notice period depending on the nature of the role.

Each employee was also paid his/her Provident Fund contribution; those with outstanding leave days and leave travel allowance days were commuted to cash and paid.

Employees, who had outstanding workmen’s compensation claim against the company, were also paid.

On repatriation, workers affected were paid a flat rate amount of cedi equivalent of $585 as allowance to cover also registered dependants and their personal effects to their respective home towns within Ghana.

The statement said employees and their registered dependants were further given three months to occupy the company house from the date of severance and those wishing to extend their occupancy were to apply and pay the prevailing commercial rate.

On loans, it said, it was agreed that those with outstanding amount would be set off against severance benefits.

Employees, who qualified for long service awards up to September 15, 2014, were also paid a lump sum at the time of the severance, in lieu of the award items and those on maternity/sick leave were issued with their severance letter upon resumption or on recall, where practicable.

Where it was not practical to recall, the employee was paid his/her entitlement or benefit for the remaining duration of the leave upon issuance of the severance letter.

The statement said employees on study leave were retrenched and relieved of the bonding conditions and the remainder of the school fees was paid directly to the educational institution for the remaining period of the programme.

Where the employee was totally disabled as a result of the injury/disease, AngloGold provided by way of resettlement a cash amount for the employee to put up a house in the employee’s own location but the amount did not exceed the cedi equivalent of $30,000.

Again, the company registered dependants of a deceased employee on the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) for a period of one year from the date of death.

All employees affected by the exercises were made to undergo post-employment medicals to ensure their fitness prior to the retrenchment as well as taken through Life After Formal Employment training, aimed at preparing them psychologically and financially for the life ahead.

The statement said the Ghana Mine Workers Union was involved in every stage of the severance exercise including signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) dated 15th September 2015.

The Union, he added, negotiated with the Company in good faith and the resultant redundancy package was in line with the Collective Agreements of the parties. “In effect, the Company implemented the agreement to the letter,” it added.

The statement cautioned all ex-employees of AngloGold Ashanti Ghana Limited to be extra careful about any attempt to lure them to pay huge sums of money in anticipation of an envisaged remaining payment.