31.01.2008 General News

Ghana breaches labour standards

By The Chronicle
Ghana breaches labour standards
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The government of Ghana has been faulted for breaching the core conventions of the International Labour Organisation it had ratified, a new report issued by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

The report, which coincides with a review of Ghana's trade policy at the World Trade Organisation, said the country's enforced national legislation goes contrary to international labour standards.

It highlights that "many workers and professionals are excluded from the right to organise and join a freely chosen trade union.
Likewise, the right to strike is limited and restricted in practice."

The ITUC said these "shortcomings have come to the attention of the IL0's supervisory organs, which have urged the government of Ghana to amend its legislation to comply with the international labour standards that the country has ratified."

The Union wondered why Ghana has still not ratified the main ILO Convention on Child Labour, despite the fact that more than a million child workers are found in the country's sectors such as agriculture, pottering, mining quarrying and collecting fares.

"The fishing industry on Lake Volta has a high number of child labourers engaged in potentially hazardous work, such as diving into deep waters to untangle fishing nets caught on submerged tree roots," the new report said, adding that a study by Ghana's Cocoa Board revealed that children's work includes dangerous tasks such as carrying heavy loads for long distances, using machetes for harvesting, or spraying trees with pesticide.

Ghana has been called to launch further initiatives to enforce adequate laws against the rampant child labour, avoid poor enforcement of trafficking of people, especially women and children for forced labour practices.

The report raised eyebrows about rampant discrimination, despite the enforcement of a legislative ban, and questioned why "there is no law against sexual harassment at the workplace."

Ghana has been advised how to redress its non-compliance with the ILO core labour standards and implement effective policies capable enough to tackle many problems confronting the country.

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