Secretary General of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Mr. Kofi Asamoah has called on the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) to convert itself into a trade union and fight for better conditions of service for journalists in Ghana.
He said most media houses do not pay their staff the minimum wage as stipulated by law, and that is because they do not have unions to fight for their rights.
“We have a long list of media houses, both electronic and print, which do not pay their staff minimum wage but the staff fear they will be sacked if they speak up,” he said. “It is about time the GJA becomes a trades union and fought for better conditions for its members.”
Mr. Asamoah made the call on Adom FM’s Current Affairs show Dea-Mehunu.
Some media houses and private companies do not allow workplace unionism and so workers are unable to join their forces and fight for better conditions.
But Mr. Asamoah said no employer has the legal right to prevent workers from joining unions and that, owners of private companies who do not allow their staff to join unions are infringing on the right of workers and must be brought to book.
“Lots of private companies have put the fear of being sacked in their employees to prevent them from joining a unions but that is wrong and must be stopped,” he said.
He said every worker has the right to join a union so they can put forward their discrepancies and fight for their rights together.
Mr. Asamoah said workers would need to unionize before they can get the support of the TUC to fight for better conditions of employment.
He noted that only 10% of the country’s workforce is in the formal sector where minimum wage can be enforced and monitored, but the remaining 90% in the informal sector do not even have the benefit of enjoying minimum wage.
“It is illegal for any employer to pay workers below the approved minimum wage but it is happening largely in the informal sector,” he said.
Mr. Asamoah said government is responsible for ensuring the rights of workers are upheld by employers in both the public and private sector.