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18.12.2004 Business & Finance

Govt urged to form Commission to deal with labour issues

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Tema, Dec. 18, GNA - Mr Martin Kofi Boateng, Industrial Relations Officer of the Public Services Workers Union (PSWU), on Friday called on the government to ensure the early formation of a National Labour Commission (NLC) to deal with the numerous labour disputes.

He said the NLC must comprise officials from the government, organised labour and employers association, who are experienced in labour issues. Mr Boateng made the call at the closing session of a two-day seminar, organised by the International Federation of Builders and Wood Workers for 20 members of the Tema branch of the PSWU in Tema.

It was aimed at sensitising the participants on the new labour Act 651, which came into effect in March 2003.

Mr Boateng said the delay in the formation of the NLC was seriously delaying the resolution of workers grievances that had been channelled through laid down procedures.

He said though the new Act, stipulates that after exhausting the procedure for addressing disputes, the matter must be referred to a NLC for a final decision but there was no such body.

Mr Boateng said organised labour did not know where to send labour issues to and asked, " Do we go to the labour office or put cases down until the NLC is formed?"

He, however, urged workers to abide by the laid down procedure in seeking redress rather than resorting to violence, which tended to worsen their plight even if they had genuine cases.

Mr Richard Ampaabeng, Administrative Secretary of PSWU, urged workers to be conversant with the new labour Act, which according to him was friendly and accommodated both workers and management.

He said he was surprised that Senior Staff of some institutions had separate conditions of service from those of the junior staff.

Mr Ampaabeng said unless such a privilege was spelt out in the a collective agreement for senior staff, it was illegal to have separate conditions for senior and junior staff and asked local unions of the affected institutions to ensure that any such practice was stopped since it breached the labour law.

Participants called on management of establishments to endeavour to release their corporate plans especially, budgets to the local unions to guide them in their projections so that they do not make abstract demands.

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