Prime News Ghana

Ghana Bauxite Company shut down after violent demo by staff

By Mutala Yakubu
Ghana Bauxite Company shut down after violent demo by staff
Ghana Bauxite Company shut down after violent demo by staff
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The Ghana Bauxite Company in Awaso in the Western North Region has been closed after agitated workers staged a violent demonstration.

The workers who were demonstrating over poor working conditions burnt company bungalows, offices and cars in anger.
This has led to the closure of the company indefinitely.

In March this year, the angry workers embarked on a similar exercise to demand better working conditions.

In their earlier demonstration, the workers complained that the company was not paying their Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) contributions.

They also expressed their reservation about their unsafe working environment.

A worker of the company who spoke to Joy News’ Evans Mensah on Newsnight Tuesday on condition of anonymity said management has turned deaf ear to their demands of better working conditions and formation of a worker’s union to protect their interest.

“It was not a planned thing but an anger situation that went out of control. On Monday morning everything was working well until news came out based on a previous negotiation meeting with management did not receive a positive response.

“Once they heard that things are not going as expected then it aroused the anger of people who have been working on this issue for all these years. It has been nine years that we have not been able to form a union,” he said.

According to him, they cannot fathom why management does not want them to form a union and sacking of 16 people in the process over the last four years.

Three months ago, the workers embarked on a peaceful demonstration and petitioned the Regional minister, District Chief Executive, Municipal Chief Executive to help resolve issues at the company but that did not work.

Not only this but the workers said they are not happy with the salary structure with some staff taking home as little as ¢250 with no benefits and payment of SSNIT contributions.

“They will call you and sit down with you to agree on a salary but at the end of the month, the pay you receive and see on your pay slip is quite different. Contract staff who do the same job, with the same qualifications as our colleagues from the mother company are paid differently,” he claimed.

According to the aggrieved worker, whereas those who work for the mother company enjoy health and other benefits, the contract workers do not enjoy the same.

There is a security meeting ongoing in the region in reaction to the disturbance to prevent further property destruction from continuing.

There is a scheduled meeting between the chiefs, elders as well as political and security agency heads to settle the impasse and forge ahead.