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01.06.2005 Regional News

Parties in labour disputes urged to stop flexing muscles

GNA

Koforidua, June 1, GNA- The Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Yaw Barimah, has stated that a way out in helping to thaw on-going labour disputes is for the parties to open up to more dialogue to build trust instead of "flexing muscles."

He said his experiences as a former Labour Minister had informed him that, "no matter how bad and insurmountable a labour dispute might seem, dialogue often wins the day."

Hosting a Nigerian Labour delegation at Koforidua on Tuesday, Mr Barimah asked parties in labour disputes to always "keep on talking" to develop mutual understanding and trust rather than taking entrenched positions that tended to exacerbate their differences.

Mr Barimah was addressing a 50-member delegation of the Agriculture and Allied Workers Union of Nigeria (AAWUN) who are in the country under the aegis of the General and Agriculture Workers Union (GAWU) of the Trades Union of Ghana.

The two labour institutions are collaborating their efforts to find the best way of assisting their respective countries to evolve innovative agricultural policies to move their economies forward. Mr Barimah said adopting entrenched posturing on labour disputes often tended to nurture more antagonism among the parties whereas dialogue usually led to harmony.

The Minister, who is also Member of Parliament for New Juaben South, commended the hierarchy of the GAWU for the kind of leadership it was offering in the agriculture sector.

He called for more trade and exchange of ideas between the two countries noting that effective harnessing of the resources between the two nations could lead to the rapid elimination of poverty. "We should look more inward rather than over-relying on foreign assistance for our survival", he stressed.

The General Secretary of GAWU, Mr Samuel Kanga, was convinced that no poverty reduction effort in Africa could succeed without first addressing the problems confronting the agriculture sub-sector. This, he said, was due to the fact that agriculture employed more than 70 per cent of the people in the sub-region and in Ghana in particular, it accounted for more than 40 per cent of her Gross National Product.

Mr R.O. Idumajugo, General Secretary of AAWUN, commended Mr Barimah for his simplicity and forthrightness, noting that the Minister could be a model for the usually "opulent Nigerian political class".

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