West African gov’ts fail to invest in labour — Survey

Business News of Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Source: Graphic Online

TUC Labour Survey

A research conducted in three West African countries on decent work has revealed that governments in those countries have failed to invest in the labour market and labour institutions.

The report, which was launched in Accra yesterday, studied the decent work situation in the mining sector in Burkina Faso, the financial service in Ghana and the construction sector in Sierra Leone.

The study, conducted in 2014, was a collaboration between the Trade Union Solidarity Centre of Finland (SASK) and the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC).

According to the report, majority of the workers in Ghana were trapped in employment forms that lacked all attributes of decency.

Some of the violations of the rights of workers identified by the study were attributed to the weakness of state institutions mandated to ensure compliance and enforcement of labour regulations.

Launching the report, the General Secretary of the TUC, Mr Kofi Asamoah, observed that the abuse of workers’ rights such as maternity protection, annual leave and compulsory overtime was causing much pain and misery among workers.

He said the working conditions had made some to lose their jobs, adding that with the launch of the report, the TUC would act to improve the decent work situation in the country.

Mr Asamoah said there was the need for the TUC to unite all workers of Ghana into an independent and democratic organisation to improve working and living conditions through collective action, unity and solidarity.

According to him, the abuse and undermining of trades union rights, such as the right to organise and collective bargaining, revealed that workers’ rights were being trampled upon with impunity in spite of the existence of the labour laws.

“Now we have a qualitative report to support our complaints and struggle in this area. We would move from complaints to mounting pressure including campaigns to ensure compliance with these laws,” he added.

Commenting on the report, the General Secretary of the Union of Industry Commerce and Finance (UNICOF), Mr John Esiape, said conditions of work at some workplaces had made workers less sociable because they did not have time for themselves and family.

“We need decent work and decent social services to rebuild the economy and strengthen social cohesion,” he said.

“The report has empowered us and we would, therefore, talk to management of companies to make them aware of the situation”, he said.

The Programme Officer of SASK, Miss Tarja Valtonen, for her part said the centre was ready to help push decent work of employers, unions and development agencies to deliver decent and productive work in Ghana.