Workers of Parliament denied the right to Trade Unionism-LRI
4/15/2012 11:00:53 PM -
Accra , April 15, GNA - The Labour Rights Institute(LRI) has cautioned the Government against 'the attempt to deny workers of the Parliamentary Service Board, the right to form a trade union by its decision to amend the Labor Act, and remove them from the scope of application of the Act.'
A release signed by Mohammed Affum, Executive Coordinator of the institute, said the proposed amendment to deny workers of the Board who are public servants, a voice in matters that affected their employment, would contravene International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention No. 87 on Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining, which Ghana had ratified.
The release said notification to amend the Labor Act had been published in the Gazette titled 'Labor (Amendment) Act 2012 dated March 21, 2012, and signed by the Minister of Employment and Social Welfare.
It said in the LRI's 1994 report on a survey on freedom of association and collective bargaining in ILO member states, the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations of the Organization, declared that the exclusion of public servants from the fundamental right to form or join a trade union was contrary to Convention 87.
It said the move to amend the Labor Act, was a panic reaction to the legitimate wishes of workers of the Parliamentary Service Board, to be allowed as a right, to participate in decision-making on their terms and conditions of employment.
'It is ironic that the Parliament of Ghana, which is an institution that represents citizens' voice and participation in democratic governance, is resorting to measures to deny its workers, voice and participation in democratic governance at the workplace,' said the release.
The release described the claim in the memo to the draft amendment bill that a possible strike by workers of Parliament had implications for national security and public safety, as unmeritorious.
'If there is any group of workers who, by the same logic of national security and public safety, should be prevented from forming a trade union by taking them out of scope of application of the Labor Act, it should be medical doctors whose strike actions directly result in death of patients,' the release said.
It said the concept of national security could not be used to justify a proposed action, which could not find justification in international treaties on industrial relations, to which Ghana was signatory because national security, shorn of its myths, was simply about human development and human well-being.
The release said currently, if any issue threatened national security that should engage the attention of the government, it should be how to find decent jobs for the millions of unemployed youth, without any social protection, whose vulnerability lent them to ease of mobilization for potential adventures which could de-stabilize the country.
'It is definitely not the workers of Parliament, whose only crime is to assert their democratic right to form a trade and have a voice in occupational matters that should be seen as a national security threat.'
The release said a formal complaint on the issue would be made to the International Labour Organization (ILO) conference, which would take place in Geneva in the next few weeks.