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11.11.2005 General News

Government Accused of Discrimination

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Bolgatanga, Nov 11, GNA - Participants at a one-day forum on the National Labour Commission (NLC) Law held in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region on Thursday said the bias and the discriminatory manner the government settles industrial disputes by improving the working conditions of some organizations whilst neglecting others was not the best.

The participants stated that public confidence in the NLC would fade if this were allowed to continue.

Citing examples the Regional Chairman of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Mr Nakpi Joseph, said when members of NAGRAT embarked upon strike this year to press home their demands for improved conditions of service, their concerns were not given the due attention.

However, as soon as the doctors and nurses and some workers of the Tema Oil Refinery embarked upon a similar action, they were immediately attended to with special packages.

Responding to this, the Commission said they would draw the government's attention to the matter.

Members of the forum further suggested the need to decentralize the NLC to the grassroots level such as the regions and the districts to enable it to discharge its duties effectively.

Participants also expressed dissatisfaction about the way private companies manhandle workers, saying majority of workers were laid off without any justifiable reason. Others are also less paid as compared to the magnitude of work they perform.

The Commission explained that it had established labour inspectors who would soon be going round to monitor the activities of such companies and report to the commission for the appropriate action to be taken.

The Deputy Chairman of the Commission, Mr Kwasi Danso Acheampong, impressed upon employers and employees to send their cases to the NLC for amicable arbitration and redress instead of embarking on unhealthy strikes since this would discourage investors. He said the mission of the Commission was "to develop and sustain a peaceful, harmonious industrial environment through the use of effective dispute resolution practices, promote cooperation among labour market players and ensure mutual respect for their rights and responsibilities."

Mr Acheampong said when there is conducive working atmosphere in the country it would attract more investors and generate employment for the youth.