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10.10.2008 General News

Employers Urged To Respect Labour Act

By Lawrence Markwei - newtimesonline.com

Though the labour Act 651 (2003), section 79, allows for freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, some employers in Ghana have resorted to undemocratic tactics to frustrate workers from joining trade unions.

The unwillingness of these employers to also negotiate in good faith with their employees as required under section 97 (1) of the labour Act, thus poses a serious threat to the attainment of decent work.

These observations were made by Kofi Asamoah, Secretary General of  the Trades Union Congress (TUC), on Tuesday at a news conference in Accra to mark the World Day for Decent Work by both the TUC and Ghana Federation of labour.

The Decent Work Agenda was launched at the 89th International labour conference in June 1999 with the objective of operationalising decent work at country level where its development and ownership rely on tripartite dialogue and national ownership.

Decent work sums up the aspirations of people in their working lives for opportunity in employment and income, rights, voice and recognition.

Mr Asamoah noted that social dialogue structures and process provide means for workers' right to be protected and advanced while promoting better living and working conditions.

They ensure popular participation in public policy, help to combat social exclusion and promote consensus building,” he said.

He urged employers to recognise the need to build consensus by ensuring that workers rights to participate in decision making processes affecting their lives at their work place are encouraged.

Mr Asamoah called for the decentralisation of tripartism to cover the regions and districts as a means of broadening its scope of inclusiveness in decision-making process.

He advocated adequate resourcing and empowering of the National Tripartite Committee by setting up permanent secretariats to provide policy direction to labour market stakeholders in the country.

Mr Asamoah pointed out that the recent court ruling that,” employers can sack without reason” is an affront to International Labour Organisation (ILO) convention 158 which provides protection for employment.

Mr Asamoah asked the government to ratify the ILO Convention 158 so as to promote the healthy industrial relations climate that the Labour Act seeks to establish.

It is recalled that a court in Accra presided over by Mrs Irismay Brown, ruled that the Labour Act 2003 does not compel employers to provide reasons when they terminate the employment of employees.

With regards to poverty reduction, Mr Asamoah mentioned factors like employment creation, development of social protection system and the fight against corruption as some ways by which growth could be sustained to reduce poverty.

“We all as partners in development, have an obligation to address the issue of poverty in a meaningful way or face the prospect of being continuously caught up in this social canker”, he said.

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