Ghana: AngloGold Ashanti Replies to Report On Retrenchments

Ghana's Children's Act prohibits mining work for anyone under the age of 18.
20 March 2015

AllAfrica has received the following letter from AngloGold Ashanti in response to a report on retrenchments at a mine in Ghana - The Editors

AngloGold Ashanti (AGA) Remains Committed to the Welfare of its Employees

AngloGold Ashanti has read with concern a story with the title "AngloGold's retrenchment scheme has deadly consequences", published on your website on 10th March, 2015, which was written by one Malise Otto.

The article contained several inaccuracies, innuendos and falsehoods, and was published without verification of the facts with AngloGold Ashanti.

We would like to place on record that the decision to retrench Obuasi mine's workforce was only taken after careful consideration of the implications, and wit hin the broader context of transforming the operation into a viable entity so as to ensure its long-term survival.

AngloGold Ashanti , as a responsible company, remains committed to the welfare of its employees at all times. Prior to, and throughout, the retrenchment process, AngloGold Ashanti undertook numerous consultations with key stakeholders, including employees, organised labour representatives, the Government of Ghana and other important stakeholders to resolve all issues relating to the exercise.

In this regard, the entire exercise was conducted in accordance with the laws of Ghana, in line with the Collective Agreement between the company and the Ghana Mine Workers Union, and in accordance with our organisational values - most notably treating people with dignity and respect.

Retrenchment packages were, in effect, determined by the dictates of the Collective Agreement which was fully complied with. Payments were subsequently made directly into the respective bank accounts of all employees.

In line with our Employee Care Programme, AngloGold Ashanti also undertook a number of initiatives aimed at exposing our employees to potential alternative job opportunities, and investment options to preserve and grow their earning. This was all within the context of facilitating a transition into sustainable livelihood after formal employment. These initiatives included "Life after Formal Employment" Seminars, "An Evening with the Entrepreneur" session, Jobs and Investment Fairs, etc.

AGA further commissioned Technoserve, an international non-profit organisation, to conduct a "Worker Reinsertion Project" which developed full business cases on entrepreneurial opportunities for employees who would opt to either stay in the Obuasi area, urban Ghana or rural Ghana.

AGA also provided financial support to the Mineworkers Wives Association to enable them to set up cottage industries so as to support the upkeep of their families.

AGA would like to reassure all stakeholders that the retrenchment exercise was fairly and transparently conducted, and it is obvious from the foregoing that the entire process was conducted diligently and responsibly. It is also important to highlight that the process has been widely acknowledged by various stakeholders including the Ghana Mine Workers Union.

In view of the above clarifications we find your publication unfortunate and request that you publish our response giving it the same prominence as your earlier publication. We also wish to state that except to the extent clarified in this response all allegations in the said story are denied entirely.

Please be accordingly advised.

Yours faithfully,

Juliet Manteaw-Kutin (Mrs)

Head of Legal Services

AngloGold Ashanti (Ghana) Limited

Accra

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