Golden Star workers sue company for ‘forced labour’

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Permanent employees of Golden Star, Bogoso/Prestea, Limited, numbering about 238 have sued the company over attempt to hand them over to Future Global Resources as part of ongoing purchase agreement between the two companies without payment of severance/redundancy packages.

The workers have asked an Accra high court to, among others, declare that upon the execution of the shared purchase agreement, dated July 26, 2020, and the sale of Golden Star Resources interest in the Bogoso/Prestea Goldmine to Future Global Resources Limited, the employees are entitled to receive severance/redundancy payments prior to any take-over of the mine by the new owners.

They are also asking the court to declare that the decision taken by the company unilaterally, upon the execution of the shared purchase agreement and the sale of the company to transfer its employees without their consent, constitutes forced labour and flagrant breach of the workers fundamental rights to choice of employment.

Orders

The employees have also asked the court to order the company to pay to each of them, prior to the take-over of the company, severance/redundancy payment as well as all other terminal benefits of entitlement due, in accordance with their employment contract.

The court is to further order an injunction restricting the company from concluding the sale pending the various payment and the final determination of the case; payment of interest at the prevailing bank  commercial rate on any amount found to be due the employees from September 30 to the final day of payment; general damages; cost among others.

Claims

The employees claim that Golden Star Resources Limited, by a news release on July 27, 2020, entered into a binding agreement for the sale of its 90 per cent interest in the Bogoso/Prestea Gold Mine to Future Global Resources Limited for a purchase price of up to US$95million.

According to the employees, “Article 3.14 of the said shared purchase agreement provides that not later than 90 days following the close of the transaction, Future Global Resources, the new buyer and owner of the employees, will continue to be Golden Star (Bogoso/Prestea) Limited employees; no loss of employment nor change to the existing conditions of service will result from the sale becoming effective; continuity from the first day of active  employment with Golden Star (Bogoso/Prestea) will be maintained among other claims numbering about 18.”

Contempt

Meanwhile, counsel for the employees, Gaisie Zwennes Hughes and Co. Legal Partners, has written to counsel for the company, Kimathi Kunyehia esq of kimathi and partners, on attempt by the two companies to go ahead with the transaction despite the court case.

“We note with grave concern that despite the pendency of the interlocutory injunction application filed at the instance of our clients on the 22nd Day of September 2020 which seeks amongst others to retrain the conclusion of the sale transaction and the transfer of the employees, your clients, together with some executives of Future Global Resources Limited are currently engaged in advancing and promoting the very acts which form the subject of the said application,” the letter said.

The letter therefore asked counsel for Golden Star to let their clients halt the engagement or be hauled before the court.

 

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