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23.08.2005 General News

New Labour Law is anti-Trades Unions


Koforidua, Aug. 23, GNA - Mr Kofi Asamoah, Deputy Secretary General of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), has described some provisions of the new Labour Law (Act 651) as anti-trades unionism because they were tilted towards neo-liberal principles.

He said the Law, among other things, sought to weaken trades union dynamism such as union pluralism, attack the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) system, discourage job security, erode workers' benefits and over-protect dispute settlement procedures.

Mr Asamoah was speaking on the topic "Analysis of labour relations in Ghana" at a three-day workshop for trades union negotiators at Koforidua on Monday. It was part of series of a joint GTUC/UNDP/Government of Ghana project on "Consolidating democratic governance" being attended by over 20 participants drawn from all TUC affiliated unions.

Mr Asamoah said Ghana's legal and institutional framework on labour relations was largely rooted in the International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions, 46 of which she had rectified and made to reflect in the content of the Labour Law.

Other sources of the country's labour relations, he mentioned, included the 1992 Constitution, the CBAs, SSNIT law, Workmen's Compensation and Factory Inspection laws.

Mr Asamoah stressed the need for the building of the capacity of the social partners, developing mutual trust, enforcement of labour standards and elimination of discriminatory tendencies. He noted that since the CBAs faced attack from some employers, there was the need for regular orientation of labour on the labour laws, build strong union solidarity at all levels and solve internal problems peacefully.

The head of Education and Training of the TUC, Ms Josephine Abakah, said the time had come for negotiators to do enough homework before embarking on CBA negotiations in order to secure appropriate benefits for their members.

The head of Policy Research Department of the TUC, Mr Anthony Baah, who spoke on the "Macroeconomic Environment and Negotiations", asked the participants to ensure that they armed their CBA negotiation teams with adequate research material on issues, develop effective teamwork and approach their negotiations professionally.

Mr Kwasi Danso Acheampong, head of the Legal Department of the TUC, called for the setting up of a strong Research Centre funded by all unions to provide Union negotiators with accurate data to guide them in their negotiations.