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13.09.2005 Regional News

NLC calls on social partners to comply with the Labour Law

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Koforidua, Sept. 13, GNA - The Chairman of the National Labour Commission (NLC), Mr Joseph Aryitey, has called on the social partners of industry to promote the observance of the Labour Law by complying with its provisions and respecting the National Labour Commission (NLC) in the management of industrial relations in the country. He pointed out that, since the provisions of the law had far reaching consequences for the nation, it was essential that the government, employers and organized labour be well informed about them for industrial peace to be maintained.

Mr Aryitey, who was speaking at a regional forum, organised by the NLC in Koforidua on Tuesday, regretted that, since the inauguration of the NLC in April, this year, some workers had embarked on illegal strikes based on ignorance or disrespect of the law and the Commission by the leaderships.

He recounted the ten years it took to prepare the bill for Parliament before it could be passed in the Labour Law and said if any individual or group of the social partners had any problem with any its provisions, it could only seek their amendments but not to disobey it with impunity.

Mr Aryitey called on the Ministry of Manpower, Youth and Employment to expedite the publication of the Legislative Instrument on the law to specific public agencies, which constitute the "Essential Services," which under the law, could not embark on strike actions. He pointed out that under the Law, strikes and lockouts could be lawful, if procedures laid down were followed, saying, "it is therefore myopic for some workers to think they were outside the Law or hand their grievances pending before the establishment of the Commission".

According to Mr Aryitey, the five principles behind the Labour Law included stability in labour relations, maintenance of human dignity, creation of a flexible labour market, need for equity and social protection and consolidation and accessibility of the law. In answer to a question, he said the Commission would be opening offices in the regions and districts, provided it had the funds and logistics, but assured that any individual or group could petition it, since it had so far received about 170 complaints.

To another question, Mr Aryitey said the law permitted an employer, whose workers embarked on an illegal strike to refuse paying them their emolument for the period, while the Commission could apply to the Court of Appeal to enforce its decisions.

A member of the Commission, Opanin Obeng Fosu, told a questioner that the law did not repeal two existing labour laws including the Workmen's Compensation Law, PNDCL 187 and the Factory, Offices and Shops Act 328 of 1970.

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