Ex-workers of AngloGold Ghana take human right complaint to South Africa

A group of ex-workers of AngloGold Ashanti Ghana Ltd who had initially dragged its former employers to the National Labour Commission and the Labour Department in Ghana has sent its complaint to the company’s headquarters based in South Africa over human rights violation stemming out of the 2013-2014 redundancy exercise.

In a letter dated 19th June 2019 sighted by The Worker reveals that several attempts at meeting the management of the company in Ghana have been fruitless and non-cooperative on the part of the company. Important in the letter is a request by the dislocated workers for adequate compensation since the so-called basis for the redundancy is alleged to be in contravention of the labour laws.

Representing the ex-workers, Labour Policy International (LPi) wrote on behalf of the ex-workers to the company. They are challenging the grounds upon which the company carried the said redundancy which is reported to have caused hardship to the workers. They stated that “it is a matter of fact that the Company decided to carry out one-off redundancy exercise, which commenced in 2013, over a period of partial closure for a scheduled maintenance of the mine. The maintenance activity could certainly not be the basis for declaring all the workers redundant and such is, without doubt, unprecedented in the history of AngloGold‘s operations in Ghana. It is a great concern how a maintenance programme will trigger a new model of employment that sacrifices the fundamental rights of workers by obliterating all traces of Permanent Employment to make way for the introduction of Contract Employment resulting in the reduction of employee benefits and thereby undermine the protection of labour rights and job security.”

One lingering issue of the dispute is whether there was a redundancy exercise in 2013 as well. The Company had previously denied any redundancy exercise in 2013 except 2014 but LPi, according to them, have proven records indicating that the redundancy was also carried in that year.

Further, LPi states that the introduction of contract employment by AngloGold Ghana is a diminution in the workers’ terms and conditions of employment which is therefore in violation of the company’s Human Rights policy and ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Right to Work.

The ex-workers are therefore proposing to the company to pay them reparations and open up for a meeting to discuss these human rights violations. LPi proposes to meet the company on 3rd July 2019 expecting a reply from South Africa.

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