20 June 2019

Ghana: Arrest, Prosecute Irate Workers - Ghana Bauxite Company Management Appeals to Govt

Awaso — The management of the Ghana Bauxite Company has called on the government to immediately arrest and prosecute workers involved in vandalising and destroying the company's properties last Monday during a violent demonstration.

This, according to J.K. Fang, General Manager of the company, was necessary to restore investor confidence which has been adversely affected by the actions of the workers.

"For now, all we are asking from the government is to immediately bring to book all the workers who took part in the despicable act. Investor confidence in Ghana has now been bruised and so a quick response from government is necessary to erase fears and doubts any investor will have about the country," he explained.

Interacting with the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh and some other officials from the Ministry and the Minerals Commission at Awaso in the Western North Region, he said, government's actions was also imperative to assure him and other investors that their lives and properties would be protected while in the country.

The visit by the minister and his entourage was to obtain firsthand information on the causes and aftermath of the violent disturbances by some workers of the company.

Narrating the incidence, Mr Fang stated that about 30 to 40 workers burnt down one house and five vehicles including two SUVs while others, notably offices of the managers were vandalised and ransacked.

He said the company was currently working with the Police to collect video and picture evidences to aid in the prosecution of perpetrators when they are arrested.

Describing the incidence as unfortunate, Mr Fang stated that management was already involved in negotiations with the workers to address their concerns adding that they were taken aback by the level of vandalism.

The Human Resource Manager of the company, he said, had fled the town with his family to an unknown location since the workers involved in the riot were yet to be apprehended.

On his part, M. Asomah-Cheremeh said that government has in the meantime, beefed up security at the company's offices and accommodation facilities to forestall any recurrence of the violent demonstration.

He assured the management that the Police would continue to pursue and arrest all the perpetrators and prosecute them for acting against the public order act and destroying properties owned by the company.

Allaying the fears of the management, the Minister said government considers investors as critical partners for Ghana's development especially when the country was in discussions with China on potential exploration of bauxite in the country.

"Bauxite is an important mineral to Ghana in the government's development plan and so we are concerned about the working conditions of workers in the sector. I call on the workers to exercise restraint and dialogue to resolve their differences with the management. I also entreat the management to be forthright with the workers so we can all move forward," he stated.

Last Monday, some staff of the company staged a violent demonstration over what they described as "meagre" remuneration.

The workers, who also complained of poor working conditions, wanted an increment in salary.

The workers were calling for a 10 per cent increment in the GH¢300 payment they receive as monthly allowance.

The rampaging staff vandalised the bungalow of their Chinese manager and burned down a car belonging to the company.

They also burned lorry tyres causing vehicular traffic in the township.

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