Government has expressed concern about austerity measures, which began last year and include job cuts, necessitated by a reduction in production following the falling price of gold on the world market.
The Hon. Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Mr Nii Armah Ashietety, expressed the concern at a meeting with stakeholders in Accra, yesterday, on the on-going redundancy exercise affecting mine workers.
Hon. Ashietey said the meeting was called to engage stakeholders on how to manage and mitigate the impact of the redundancy exercise embarked upon by the mining companies.
According to Mr Ashietey, although the Ghana Chamber of Mines (GCM) had assured mine workers of “generous compensation” for those who would lose their jobs as a result of the austerity measures being adopted by mining companies, government was of the view that no matter how attractive such packages were, if the beneficiaries were unprepared for it and did not plan properly for them, such packages did not benefit them in the long run.
Present at the meeting were Dr Tony Aubynn, Chief Executive Officer (CEO)of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Mr Prince William Ankrah of the Ghana Mine Workers Union (GMWU), Mr Alex Frimpong of the Ghana Employers Association (GEA), Mr Eugene Korletey, Acting Chief Labour Officer and Mr Kofi Asamoah, Secretary-General of the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
The large-scale mining industry in Ghana employs about 16,000 people,
but about a quarter of that workforce is likely to be laid off by the end of this year, as mining companies take critical measures to deal with the falling price of gold.
The GCM envisages that mining companies will lay off between 2,000 and 4,000 workers by the end of this year, but in a worst-case scenario, the job cuts will be more than anticipated.
The state is also expected to lose huge revenues from the mining industry due to the anticipated low production levels as the large-scale mining industry contributes about 27 per cent of all tax revenue to the state.
According to Dr Aubynn, a stabilisation of the situation would not be immediate as an increase in gold price is not expected until 2015 for which reason most of the mining companies are doing restructuring which involves being leaner and looking at production areas where mining companies could maximise efficiency and mine at reasonably low cost.
He said Ashanti Goldfields, for example, was not likely to produce at levels higher than previous ones and that Noble Gold had suspended its operations which might reduce the overall production of gold in the country.
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