The Ghana Mineworkers Union (GMWU) has launched a vigorous campaign to get the government to ratify, without further delay, the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Convention on health and safety in the mines.
“Since its adoption in 1995 at the 82nd session of the ILO General Conference in Geneva, successive governments in Ghana have failed to ratify it and this time the GMWU will not appreciate any feet-dragging from the government,” Mr William P. Ankrah, the General Secretary of the Union, said at a press conference at Obuasi to launch the campaign.
“This time around, we want the Mills Administration to ratify the Convention because we want our members to go to the belly of the earth and work and return home safely and healthily,” he said.
Mr Ankrah said even though mine accidents in the country had drastically reduced, there was the need for the campaign to get the various mining companies to give serious attention to the health and safety of their workers.
Reading parts of the Convention at the conference, the General Secretary said, “The Convention is a product of tripartite negotiation involving social partners – governments, employers and labour at the international level at the ILO of which Ghana was a participant.”
“The Convention is a reflection of a balanced interest of the major stakeholders in the global mining industry,” Mr Ankrah said. “Health and safety in the mines is central to achieving decent work in the industry.”
He said it provides the necessary basis for a sustainable mining industry that ensures its workers return from their workplaces safe and healthy.
The General Secretary said he was happy that part of the Convention, which deals with preventive and protective measures at the mines, empowers the mining companies to assess all manners of risks and to tackle them in order of priority to guarantee the safety of the workers and enhance their health status.
Mr Ankrah said recent major mine disasters in some parts of the world should influence stakeholders in the mining industry to support “this all important ILO Convention.”