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18.07.2005 Business & Finance

Labour Commission should work above board-Official

GNA

Ho, July 18, GNA - Mr. Danso Acheampong, Deputy Chairperson of the National Labour Commission (NLC), on Monday urged the Commission's mediators and arbitrators to strive to be above board, in order to justify their having to work for the Commission.

"We need to remind ourselves that... Ghanaians are becoming seriously critical of the performance of state institutions to the level of cynicism", he cautioned.

Mr Acheampong was addressing the opening session of a five-day training course for 45 persons selected from the public and private sectors to become arbitrators and mediators in labour matters. The course, the first to be organized countrywide is under the theme, "promoting effective Labour-Management co-operation". Topics to be featured include, " Rationale

for the Labour Act", " Dispute resolution under the Labour Act", "Dispute Resolution Mechanism in the CBA with emphasis on negotiation at the workplace," "Differences between Mediation and Arbitration", and the United States "Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) Rules of Arbitration and the Mediation Process" including discussions and assignments.

Mr Acheampong said the course was necessitated by Section 155 (1) of the Labour Act, which, "charges the Commission to maintain a list of qualified persons who are knowledgeable in industrial relations to serve as mediators for each region" while subsection (2) provided that "appointment of mediators or arbitrators may be made from the list of mediators and arbitrators" maintained by the Commission.

He observed that conflicts are unavoidable in the increasingly complex nature of society and especially labour matters "where competitive interests are high" and resources are limited. In such a situation, Labour and Employers needed to use "dialogue and negotiation in good faith", to settle their differences and promote their respective social and economic interests as social partners, Mr Acheampong said.

"But in the event of failure, arbitration and mediation can be used to great advantage. The advantage is that industrial disputes are resolved quickly without resorting to the disruptive strikes. . " In her remarks, Mrs Rose Karikari Anang, Executive Director of Ghana Employers Association (GEA), was hopeful that, the new approach to dealing with Labour and Management differences would promote industrial harmony and reconcile the interests of both labour and industry. She said there is an urgent need for a peaceful industrial climate in the country in which industries could survive and thrive, to provide employment and for labour to be assured of job security so that the country could move forward.

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