The Ghana Mineworkers’ Union (GMWU), of the Trades Union Congress (TUC, Ghana), has urged all employers in the industry to continuously leverage their longstanding experience as health and safety champions to prevent the spread of COVID – 19.
The union said in these difficult times, all stakeholders needed to adhere to prevention measures to prevent the pandemic from wreaking havoc on the mining industry which undoubtedly is a major foreign exchange earner for the country.
A media release issued in Accra on March 19, 2020 by the GMWU and signed by its General Secretary, Mr Abdul-Moomin Gbana, expressed concern over the global pandemic and its potential consequences on the health and safety of its members and the operational and business implications for mining companies and the industry at large.
The union acknowledged the bold and concrete steps taken by the government so far in response to the fight against the spread of the coronavirus and commended the President for the show of leadership.
It also commended all employers and social partners within the mining industry for proactively developing response measures targeted at preventing the spread of the virus.
“While commending the government and our social partners, the union acknowledges that these are not normal times and ,therefore, takes serious note of all the positive cases recorded so far and call on the public, especially its members to scale-up the already known health and safety culture in the mining industry,” the release stated.
The union also called on all its social partners to guard against any panic decision(s) or measures that could throw the mining sector out of gear.
“Instead, we encourage our social partners to consult broadly with all stakeholders particularly in decisions that could potentially have far-reaching consequences on the industry,” it said.
"We encourage our social partners to consult broadly with all stakeholders particularly in decisions that could potentially have far-reaching consequences on the industry."
The union also urged mining companies to promote remote work particularly for vulnerable workers such as lactating mothers and pregnant women and also endeavour to create official channels or platforms for regular updates about the COVID -19 pandemic, especially in the era of social media and fake news.
“Given that this pandemic has a global character, the union also wants to use this opportunity to caution our members and by extension Ghanaians to show compassion during this period and refrain from any temptation to demonise foreign nationals,” it added.