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20.05.2004 Business & Finance

New Labour Law poses a challenge to commerce - ICU

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Accra, May 20, GNA - The Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) on Thursday called on employers and employees to adopt pro-active working relations following the enactment of the new Labour Law, Act 651 to ensure industrial harmony.

Mr Gilbert Awinongya, Deputy Secretary-General (Operations) of ICU, told Ghana News Agency, that the commercial sector needed industrial peace, especially during the transitional period of the Law.

He explained that the Act posed a challenge to employers, workers and all the social partners and called for vigorous education to avoid arbitrary use of power from both the employee and the employer. Mr Awinongya said the new Law set out clear parameters within, which arbitrariness of the employer and the employee was curtailed.

Other areas it covers includes; the establishment of public employment centres and private employment agencies; protection and general conditions of employment; employment of women, persons with disabilities, young persons and protection of remuneration.

The rest are; fair and unfair termination of employment; special provisions relating to temporary workers and casual workers, trade unions and employers' organisations, the collective agreements, National Tripartite Committee, forced labour and occupational health, safety and environment among other things.

The Deputy Secretary-General said ICU had adopted a pragmatic programme to educate both employers and employees on the Law. Mr Awinogya made the remarks when he was reacting to circumstances surrounding the recent action of workers of Aluworks Limited, Tema, who locked out their Management while negotiations were not at deadlock.

The Management in retaliation to teach the workers a lesson took a swift decision to sack the workers but the ICU stepped into the case and restored industrial peace without any injury to the parties.

He denied claims that the mother union of ICU did not do anything about the industrial hiccup at the Aluworks. Mr Awinongya asked the workers and the Management of the Company to respect the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between them to ensure industrial harmony at the factory.

A copy of the MOU made available to the GNA directed every employee to sign a bond to be of good behaviour and to be law abiding. Employees, who were on sick leave or annual leave, are to be treated as not participants of the strike action, and the Workers Union Executives were directed to issue a formal written apology to the Management and employees to be recalled would not be made to start as beginners.

The MOU also noted that the Management reserved the right to take disciplinary action against employees arising from the industrial action.

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