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17.02.2006 General News

Suspend ROPAB - TUC


Accra, Feb. 17, GNA - The Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC) and some organised labour groups on Friday appealed to the Government to suspend the passage of the Representation of People Amendment Bill (ROPAB) currently at the consideration stage before Parliament, to allow for more consultation and discussions.

The TUC and the organised labour stated at press conference in Accra that they would move into further consultations on the next course of action if their appeal were ignored and the Bill were passed. The organised labour groups comprised the Ghana Federation of Labour; Ghana National Association of Teachers; Ghana Registered Nurses Association and Civil Servants Association of Ghana. Mr Kwasi Adu-Amankwah, Secretary General of the Congress, who led the groups to state their position, called for a suspension of the Bill to allow time for more consultations.

He said Organised Labour had been in consultations since the passage of the Bill became a public issue and following an emergency meeting on February 15, 2006, approached the Council of State, to prevail on the Government to defer the passage of the Bill, for further considerations as it bordered on the sensitive nature of electoral laws; to deepen and broaden the consultative process and to allow for more education for the smooth implementation of the Bill when passed into law.

Mr Adu-Amankwah said the group recognised that electoral laws were sensitive in nature and this called for consensus building among all stakeholders to ensure confidence in the electoral process and the general acceptance of electoral results. They stated that the Bill was very important and also very critical in building and the developing the nation's young democracy, but the differences in position on passing the Bill now portrayed an emergence of political crisis, which had implications for the nation's nascent democracy.

"As a result, there is the need to broaden and deepen the consultative process by allowing for further debate on the Bill as was the case of the Labour Act 2003 (Act 651), which took more than six years to be passed.

Mr Adu-Amankwah said elections were at the heart of the nation's democracy, and the laws on which elections were based needed much more time for consultations, devoid of political polarisation so that once the Bill was passed, it would be accepted by all to avoid electoral disputes which were sources of crisis.