18.08.2005 Business & Finance

TUC will unionise all workers - Asamoah

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Tema, Aug. 18, GNA -- Mr Kofi Asamoah, Deputy Secretary General of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in-charge of Operations on Thursday pledged TUC's determination to ensure the unionisation of all workers, irrespective of their ranks.

Undoubtedly, he said, unionisation was an important vehicle for the protection and defence of workers' rights. Mr Asamoah made the pledge at a day's workshop for senior/professional staff of TUC held in Tema.

The workshop, which formed part of activities marking the 60th anniversary celebration of TUC, was aimed at helping participants to develop a clearer understanding of the role of trade unions in protecting the interests of their members, and to enable them to appreciate the need to join unions.

Attended by about 20 participants, the workshop had as its theme: "The Strength and Challenges of Trade Unionism Today." Mr Asamoah recounted the historical background of the unionisation of senior staff in the country, and said it dated back to the early 1990s, adding that efforts to get senior staff unionised had since continued in earnest.

He pointed out that freedom of association and collective bargaining's were rights to be exercised by all workers, including senior staff. "The rights are not only guaranteed by Ghana's Constitution but more importantly by International Labour Organization Convention". Ghana, he said, had ratified those conventions, and it was expected that no restrictions were put in the way of senior staff unionisation. Mr Asamoah said, "senior staff unionisation should not be a threat to corporate interests. We expect that unionisation of workers, including senior staff will bring about better and more organised relationships between workers and their employers, which we believe is good for smooth and profitable running of organisations."

The Deputy Secretary General was of the view that the issue of unionisation of senior staff be put into the proper context so that workers' right to freedom of association was not violated.

Mr Asamoah regretted that the new forms of work practice being introduced in the world of work in this free market system, did not give indications for secured jobs.

He pointed out that the downsizing and casualisation of labour were part of today's world of work and hoped that what would secure jobs for senior staff and other workers was unionisation, and how to utilize it to protect workers' rights and interests.

Mr Asamoah urged senior staff to take advantage of the various provisions enshrined in the country's labour laws, and join unions of their choice.

Mr Anthony Yaw Baah, Head of Policy and Research Unit at the TUC noted with satisfaction that since unions were the most powerful social movements that could balance power at the national level, they need high analytical skills which only senior staff possessed. Mr Baah stated that the effects of the liberalised labour market on senior staff were unnecessary transfers, and the jeopardisation of maternity protection for women.

Togbe Adom Drayi II, Head of the Organisation Department at the TUC expressed the hope that, with the knowledge acquired at the workshop, participants would be better portioned to champion the cause of trade union activities at their various workplaces.

Mr Kwaku Darko Aferi, Head of the Public Affairs Department stressed the need for workers to come together to form a large trade union so that, collectively as workers' group, they could negotiate with government for better working conditions.

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