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Ghana mineworkers vow to continue fighting for better working conditions

20 December, 2023The Ghana Mine Workers Union (GMWU), an affiliate of IndustriALL, prides itself on making a significant impact towards improving the wages and working conditions in the mining sector in Ghana.

Amongst its achievements the union lists the dollar indexing agenda which led to minimum wages in the mines being at least US $500 and the signing of collective bargaining agreements that gave benefits to the workers that included allowances and incentives.

“The enviable working conditions are making working in the mines in Ghana a hot cake today,” said the union.

The achievements underpinned the union’s resolutions at the 13th Quadrennial Delegates Conference held in Obuasi, about 273 km from Accra, 12-14 December, which was attended by over 200 delegates, under the theme: “Building trade union resilience in a rapidly changing world of work: Strategies for 2024 and beyond.” The resolutions included promoting the use of digital tools by union members including mobile apps, online meetings, webinars, forums, and social media. Further, the union said it will implement an education programme on workers’ rights as enshrined in the Labour Act (2003) and international labour standards as strategies to counter workers’ rights violations and promote health and safety. 

The union also announced that it will engage in efforts to improve social security, pension schemes, and rejuvenate the union through recruitment of young workers and women. The union argued that these approaches will help curb the declining membership and promote sustainable mining that protects the environment and community interests and creates green jobs. The union called for the effective regulation of artisanal and small-scale mining.

“Despite the significant transformation in the world of work being fraught with challenges, the hopes and aspirations of workers and their unions for decent employment and fulfilling lives remain unwavering. The pursuit of fair wages and improved working conditions in this four-year period shall continue unabated. GMWU remains committed to advocating for social and economic justice, striving to enhance the working, and living conditions of its members and their families, and transforming society for the general good of all stakeholders,”

said Abdul-Moomin Gbana, who was re-elected general secretary. 

In what can be described as a major achievement for the Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) youth programme, for the first time in the history of the 79-year-old GMWU, Agnes Ama Agamasu, became the first ever young woman to be elected as second vice chairperson. She is also the current vice chairperson of the SSA regional youth committee. 

Paule France Ndessomin, IndustriALL regional secretary for SSA who attended the conference said: 

“I would like to congratulate the GMWU for successfully hosting the quadrennial conference, discussing pertinent worker issues that included campaigns against precarious working conditions and other non-standard forms of work, and electing a new leadership for the next four years. It is a milestone that we also have a young woman as a member of the union executive. Additionally, it is important to emphasize that participatory democracy is a cornerstone that makes trade unions collective organizations of the workers.”