Mr. Joseph Aryitey, Chairperson of the National Labour Commission (NLC) has asked organized labour leaders to discard the habit of unduly pinning employers and the commission to the wall by applying only certain aspects of the Labour Law that seems to be in their interest.
Speaking at a Media and Printing Industry Workers Union (MEDIANET) Round Table Conference in Accra, he said it would take all three stakeholders (union, employer and NLC) to bring industrial peace to the country, saying labour issues were eventual security issues.
“Some have longed to go on strike by giving notice in terms of Act 159, which requires anyone contemplating such move to give 7 days notice to the employer and the National Labour Commission”, he noted, adding that there was a clear element of mischief in that line of thinking.
According to him, those who stick to that idea forget that there are preliminary steps to be taken before embarking on a strike action as a last resort.
He therefore called on the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and the Ghana Federation of Labour (GFL) to find ways to guide their members on this issue and expressed the hope that “an education by the employer, unions and National Labour Commission should aid all of us”.
“The law clearly demands settlement of an industrial dispute by negotiation between the disputants, failing which they are obliged to come to the National Labour Commission for the second rung of resolution. None is exempt from this,” he stressed.
Mr. Aryitey said communication and motivation were vital in creating industrial peace and charged employers to energize their employees to perform better. He as well appealed to them to negotiate the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) in due time.
Contributing, the deputy chairperson of NLC, Mr. Kwesi Danso Acheampong urged all parties in a collective agreement to negotiate in good faith and make reasonable effort to reach an agreement at the end of the day.
He further asked parties in negotiation to desist from making false or fraudulent representations as regards matters relevant to the negotiations.
Mr. Acheampong hinted that after negotiations had failed to yield results, other windows of opportunities, including mediation, voluntary arbitration and compulsory arbitration could be resorted to.
Earlier in a welcome address, Mr. Ebenezer Danso, Coordinator of GFL opined that the independence and autonomy of the commission, especially in the dispensation of justice at the labour front was a laudable idea, and stressed that everything possible must be made to uphold it.
He said the GFL as a union centre had not relented in its efforts to see the NLC become well resourced and perform its legitimate functions efficiently.
“Flowing from that desire, MEDIANET, an affiliate of GFL with the support of the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund had initiated this and other actions to prevail on the social partners to pay particular attention to the work of the commission,” he said.
The Round Table Conference, which was expected to build consensus on concrete steps towards making the NLC much stronger, also brought together representatives from the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) and the Media. Bennett Akuaku