Union protests nomination of Labour Commission Chairperson
The Ghana Federation of Labour is protesting the unilateral appointment of a chairperson for the National Labour Commission.
This follows a publication in the Daily Graphic on October 7, 2013 in which the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Nii Armah Ashietey, said the names of new commissioners had been submitted to the presidency for consideration as part of moves to reconstitute the membership of the NLC.
The tenure of commissioners of the NLC expired in July, 2013. As the law prescribes, members of the commission are drawn from government, organised labour and employers after which the President approves the names in consultation with the Council of State.
Members of organised labour who are unhappy with names submitted to the President for his approval without consulting them have, therefore, petitioned the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations to act in line with the labour law.
Letter to the President
They urged President John Dramani Mahama to allow stakeholders to exercise due diligence in the nomination of a chairperson for the National Labour Commission as prescribed by the labour law.
A letter dated October 7, 2013 which was signed by the Secretary-General of the Ghana Federation of Labour, Abraham Koomson, and the President of the Federation, Caleb Nartey, indicated that organised labour and the Ghana Employers’ Association were yet to meet to decide on a nominee.
The letter explained that in compliance with section 136 of the Labour Act 2003 651, organised labour and the employers’ association had to submit the name of their nominee to the presidency for consideration and that the names should not be generated by the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations.
It said a process of engagement to determine an eligible nominee started on Friday, October 4, 2013, at a forum organised by the Ghana Trades Union Congress and the Ghana Federation of Labour.
It would be recalled that the Daily Graphic reported that there had been a delay in reconstituting the National Labour Commission (NLC) whose members’ tenure of office had expired four months ago.
Under the Labour Act, the NLC has a four-year term after which the commission is reconstituted.
A source at the NLC, who expressed concern over the absence of commissioners, told the Daily Graphic that ‘currently we do not have a labour commission in the country and this does not augur well for the labour industry’.
The source also disclosed that the names of the proposed commissioners had been forwarded to the President on August 14, 2013.
The Secretary General of the Ghana Federation of Labour, Abrahamâ€ˆKoomson, told the Daily Graphic in a telephone interview that ‘the federation is worried about this development, we are concerned about the need for due diligence to be exercised in the selection of a suitable person to take up the position of chairperson of the National Labour Commission.’
He said it would be ‘illegal to nominate anyone without due diligence since the law prescribes processes to be followed.’
The law, Mr Koomson said, ‘states that a chairperson should be nominated by employers’ association and organised labour but where there is failure to nominate within 60 days, then the employers’ associations and organised labour shall bring in a mediator: a third party. But we don’t know why names have been sent to the presidency without recourse to us.’
Apart from nominating a chairperson for the Labour Commission, organised labour also had two slots on the membership.
By Emelia Ennin Abbey/Daily Graphic/Ghana
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