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24.05.2007 General News

Give labour law time to work

By D. Graphic

The Secretary-General of the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC), Mr. Akwasi Adu-Amankwah, has expressed confidence in the Labour Law, saying that given time, it will function effectively for the benefit of both employers and employees.

He said although there were challenges in the implementation of the law, presently, he believed it would serve the purpose for which it was promulgated as the years went by.

“Since the act is barely three years old, it is likely to face some challenges which can be handled as the years go by,” he said. Mr. Adu-Amankwah said this in an interview in Accra after the opening of a two-day labour forum organized by the TUC to consider the challenges facing the implementation of the Labour Act 2003 (ACT 651), with focus on the mechanism for dispute resolution, as well the application of core international labour standards in Ghana.

Participants were drawn from TUC, other labour Commissions, the National Labour Commission (NLC), the Ghana Employers Association (GEA) and the Ministry of Manpower, Youth and Employment. Mr. Adu-Amankwah said one good thing about the law was that it was the collation of views and opinions from both unionized labour and employers, adding that based on negotiation and not adversity. He said the law was an important framework which, when followed, could work to the benefit of all stakeholders.

He called for a set of national values and standards to guide those who would want to behave anyhow. “There should be shared values and standards so that anybody who wants to deviate will be told to do the right thing,” he said.

In her remarks, the Executive Director of the GEA, Mrs. Rose Karikari-Anang, described the forum as historic, since, for the first time, all stakeholders involved in labour issues had met to deliberate and, therefore, charged the TUC to institutionalize the forum into an annual event.

Mrs. Karikari-Anang said it was important for both labour unions and the employers' association to seek each other's survival for their mutual benefit. She expressed the hope that something positive would come out of the forum for both employers and employees to enjoy.

The Deputy Secretary-General (Operations) of the TUC, Mr. Kofi Asamoah, said the participants would go through dispute resolution, unionization and certification, collective bargaining and core labour standards.

He expressed the hope that at the end of the two days the participants would have a common understanding of the causes of labour unrest in Ghana, the constraints associated with collective bargaining and the extent to which the core conventions of the International Labour Orgainsation (ILO) were applied in Ghana.

He said the rest of the issues were for the participants to understand the need for trade unions closely together to champion the cause of workers and also be abreast of the roles of the unions and employers in fostering harmonious industrial relations.